Wed, 23 Dec 2015
Joe Piggott in action for Newbury Blues against Swindon on Saturday
HEAD coach Lee Goodall shrugged off the disappointment of seeing his side held to a draw by Swindon and insisted Newbury Blues are still targeting promotion this season.
Blues let a 10-point lead slip away as they were held 13-13 in South West Division 1 East at Monks Lane on Saturday.
But Goodall is confident his side can string together a run of results in the second half of the season to challenge for a top-two spot.
Blues slipped a place to fifth in the table, and Goodall said: “It was disappointing and frustrating on Saturday.
“It’s a game we should have won but we got into a bit of an arm wrestle with them and, to be honest, lowered ourselves to their level.
“But there were positives to take from the game. We are still unbeaten at home and our discipline was a lot better than in recent weeks.
“Now we will take a bit of time to review the challenging targets we set ourselves at the start of the season.
“Are we on track? Yes we are, and we are in a better position than this time last year. Looking at our results, we have only been beaten heavily by Witney – all the other games we could have won.”
Goodall added: “The season is not over. We are not looking simply to consolidate – we are still going to go for it.”
Blues have three winnable games when they come back from the Christmas break – against High Wycombe, Swanage & Wareham and Grove before entertaining high-flying Salisbury.
Goodall said: “If we can remain unbeaten in January then we will be building momentum.
“The next five games will go a long way towards determining where we will finish in the table.”
Goodall, though, is not happy that his side only has a two-week break over Christmas.
He said: “Every team at this level is annoyed at not having enough time off. It is hard. The players are not contracted, they are ‘volunteers’, and they will be in for training on New Year’s Day.
“Then it’s straight into a run of five league games in successive weeks. It would have been nice to have had that extra week off.”
Wherever Blues finish this season, Goodall is confident the club as whole is moving forwards.
One of the main aims this season was to build up the Stags (Newbury’s second XV).
And Goodall said: “We had 41 players available for the Stags game this week, only for it to be called off.
“The team would have contained six players who have played first-team rugby this season and all the players know that they have to work hard to keep the shirt.”