BASINGSTOKE RFC director of rugby James Croker says that his side’s shock defeat in the Hampshire Cup will stand them in good stead when it comes to hosting London One South strugglers Old Colfeians on Saturday.
The Down Grange club crashed out of the county cup two weeks ago, losing 20-17 to lower league outfit Winchester – but Croker is hoping to turn that experience into a positive this weekend.
’Stoke host bottom-of-the-table Old Colfeians, who have lost all 11 league games they have played so far this season, at Down Grange on Saturday (kick-off 3pm).
On paper, it should be a comfortable afternoon for third-placed Basingstoke, who have won their last seven league games. However, the same could have been said about the Winchester game and Croker says his side must learn from the mistakes they made that day.
“Old Colfeians may be without a win at the bottom of the table but I think that the experience we got in the game against Winchester is great preparation for this week,” the Basingstoke boss said. “We have got to show them respect and get it right if we want to win.
“I do not know anything about them so we will just have to concentrate on ourselves. It will not be a walkover but we have got a good record in these sort of games, especially at our place, and we are all looking forward to it.”
Last week’s 16-10 victory over Sidcup means Basingstoke are now just four points behind second-placed Chichester, who lost 45-10 at East Grinstead.
A lot of emphasis had been placed on those games – but Croker is determined to make sure his side concentrate just as hard against lowly Old Colfeians.
“We did well against Sidcup last week but it’s important that we refocus and make sure we put in a performance again,” he said. “I am confident that we will get it right though.
“It is tight at the top now and that’s down to good work by everyone on Saturday. We closed out the game when we needed to and got the win, which was what we wanted.”
In addition to injured quartet Gareth Kelly, Adam Davies, Simon Appleby and Matt Guilfoyle, Croker will have to do without flanker Matt Horne and winger Gavin Dampies, who are unavailable due to work commitments this week.