Thu, 03 May 2018
DESPITE winning 13 of their 26 South West Premier fixtures and finishing just five points off fifth place, Newbury Blues were relegated at the weekend.
Head coach Lee Goodall and senior teams manager Bob Ward were both experiencing their last game at the club as they won 48-27 at fourth-placed Newton Abbot.
Although Blues won and got a bonus point, relegation rivals Exmouth also managed to get a bonus-point win over Camborne to condemn Blues to the drop.
Speaking after his final game in charge, Goodall said: “We just had to go out and attack and we played well.
“We had the bonus point in our pocket before half-time and we scored some fantastic tries.
“We scored eight tries and then you get the news that Exmouth had already scored their bonus point, which gave us mixed emotions.”
Blues won four of their last six league games, including wins against Bournemouth in second and Cleve in sixth.
Goodall’s side also finished on the same win and loss ratio as Maidenhead in third and Newton Abbot in fourth, but a lack of bonus points proved costly.
Goodall said: “You can get the wins, but if you don’t get the bonus points you will always be struggling and ultimately that is what has let us down this year.
“In 13 wins we only got seven try bonus points, so there’s four or five games where we have lost by nine or 10 points or we haven’t scored four tries.”
However, the head coach, who is being replaced by Paul Archer, admitted that his side has had a very good season.
He said: “We’ve proved to ourselves that we were competitive in this league because there were five points that separated us and fifth place.
“The learning curve is that attack is more important than defence because you don’t get rewarded with bonus points for having the second best defence in the league.”
Archer, who has been assistant at the club, takes over from Goodall, who has been in charge for five years.
Goodall said: “It’s time to step back and be pleased with what I have achieved, I walk out leaving the club in a better place on the rugby front.”