Thu, 25 Oct 2018
NEWBURY Blues face their biggest game of the season on Saturday after racking up seven straight league wins.
Any concerns that Blues would suffer a hangover following last season’s relegation from South West Premier have long since been dispelled.
Coach Paul Archer’s side have not just been winning – they have been blowing their opponents away in South West 1 East.
But now they face crunch time on Saturday as they entertain fellow 100-per-centers Marlborough at Monks Lane (3pm).
Archer, has been delighted with the start to the season, which has seen them pile up 369 points, while conceding just 83 – that’s an average winning score of 52-11.
Archer, who took over as head coach from Lee Goodall in the summer, admitted: “I did not think that it could have gone as well as it has.
“I knew that we had a very talented set of guys around the club, but equally the game has moved on.
“We set ourselves some challenging goals at the start of the season and we are on track.”
He added: “Every league gets harder every year because the quality of the player pool increases.”
Archer also believes that the fact that Blues do not pay their players has also strengthened the club.
Some of their rivals – particularly in South West Premier – pay their players.
But Archer said: “I am a firm believer in that at this level you have players who want to play for the club and to improve the club.
“A lot of clubs have proved that it is very difficult to sustain paying players because of the amount of money you have to generate.”
Blues chalked up their seventh straight bonus-point win on Saturday after thumping Chippenham 48-17.
But Archer was quick to point out that it wasn’t as comfortable as the score would suggest.
He said: “It was a good workout and there were lots of positives, but they certainly gave us a lot of food for thought.
“They put up a lot of resistance and played well in parts, but we had the firepower to score points and pull away from them.”
Now Archer is turning his focus to Marlborough, who also made it seven wins out of seven after winning 40-12 at Witney on Saturday.
He said: “This week will be tough. We have worked hard to get where we are and we’re there to be shot down, but we are taking nothing for granted.
“We have always prepared well for every match and there will be no complacency..”
Archer has virtually a full squad to choose from, apart from long-term absentees Toby Thorne (concussion) and Josh Bartlett (Achilles).
He said: “We have been lucky with injuries and the recent week off worked in our favour.
“We have around 30 players who have played for the first team this season and both the Stags and A team won on Saturday.
“Training numbers are up and the competition for places has filtered throughout the club.
“Now we just have to keep working hard to get to where we want to be.”