Fri, 06 Dec 2019
NEWBURY Blues head coach Paul Archer was full of praise for his side as they beat top-of-the-table Barnstaple 26-17 at Monks Lane.
Newbury’s win was only their second of the South West Premier campaign – and one that they desperately needed as remain bottom of the table.
Archer said: “It was our first complete performance of the year.
“We played with more confidence because within the last few weeks we have been trying hard not to make mistakes because teams in this league are dangerous.
“We wanted to be positive in the way we played so we could take our chances by playing to our strengths.
“We have played a few teams where we have played within ourselves, so against Barnstaple it was great seeing everything coming together.
“For the first 20 minutes, they were very strong and we expected that, but for us to come back and then dominate the middle third of the game to get ahead was brilliant.”
Blues had their backs against the wall during the final stages of the game as Barnstaple tried to find a way through, but
Archer’s side stood firm before sealing the points.
He said: “We spent a lot of time defending on our line and they were unable to break us down and that was a test of character more than anything else.”
“The result shows the attitude and the mind-set of the squad because we went down the other end and got the bonus-point score.”
Although it was only their second win of the season, Archer and his players believe the result and performance has been coming.
He said: “I don’t think we have been getting the results we have deserved.
“Hopefully it’s a foundation to kick on from, but this doesn’t mean anything unless we can string together a run of performances that gets us results.”
Dan Thorne celebrated his 200th cap for Newbury by leading them to a stunning victory over Barnstaple.
It was a crucial victory for Blues, who remain rooted to the foot of the table, despite scoring their second win of the season.
And Thorne was thrilled with the performance – and his achievement.
He said: “I’m extremely proud to have got my 200th cap. I love playing for the club, with my best mates, and hope I’ve still got a few more to add to that yet.”
He added: “What a game to mark the occasion. I’m so proud of the performance that all of the boys put out there and showed everybody that we can beat anyone in this league on our day.
“We’ve just been doing our best at improving each week and I think Saturday’s performance had been coming for a while now.”
Thorne also looked back on his time with the club.
He said: “I’ve had so many amazing memories playing for the Blues.
“Scoring three tries in the last eight minutes to beat Swindon at Monks Lane in 2017 is up there and our play-off win against Clevedon in 2018 was huge.
“Then there was ending Maidenhead’s winning home record with an emphatic 51-22 win.
“And Saturday has definitely been added to the list.”
Blues will be aiming for a second straight win this season when they travel to Bracknell on Saturday afternoon.