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Paul Archer salutes 'special' fans at Newbury Blues

Paul Archer signed off as Newbury Blues head coach by guiding his side to a 33-7 victory over Grove in the final game of the South West 1 East season at Monks Lane on Saturday.

Archer is stepping down after four years in the hot seat.

And he was thrilled by the reception he received from the Blues supporters and players.

A warm farewell to Paul Archer
A warm farewell to Paul Archer

He said: "It was lovely. I was conscious about not making the day about me – I wanted it to be just another day in the storied history of Newbury rugby club.

"But the warmth from the supporters was fantastic.

"They are definitely the best supporters I have encountered in my rugby career and they are a credit to the club and to the town.

"They are always so supportive, so to be warmly received by those guys was very special."

Blues always had the edge in an often ill-tempered game, which was not helped by a gusting wind.

Archer said: "It was not our best performance by any stretch of the imagination, but we did very well to keep our discipline in the face of some severe provocation.

"There is a bit of a history between the sides and they are always niggly games.

"They had three yellow cards for high tackles and for us not to react to that was great."

Blues finished fourth in the table, which left Archer with mixed feelings.

He said: "We had lofty ambitions at the start of the season and we felt that promotion was realistic.

"So the team was disappointed to finish fourth, although it did give us the opportunity to consolidate this year and bring young players through, like Ben Davies and Ollie Goodall.

"We had a good points total – unfortunately three other teams had better!

"We beat Bracknell home and away and Banbury at home, but we let games go when we shouldn't have let them go, like at Sherborne, Frome and Beaconsfield, which were all winnable."

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