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Sluggish start leads to opening day defeat for Basingstoke
JAMES Croker was left to rue a slow start and some less than clinical finishing as Basingstoke RFC lost their opening game of the season.
London One South title contenders East Grinstead were always going to be a tough nut to crack first up for ’Stoke.
The Sussex side showed their class by scoring two early tries to lead 12-0. A penalty from Andrew Humberstone pulled three points back for hosts Basingstoke, but further tries either side of half-time gave the visitors a healthy 24-6 lead.
Two tries from returning winger Karl Buttle got ’Stoke back into the game at 24-16 but East Grinstead responded immediately with a try of their own to open the gap to 15 points.
Jamie Fish touched down to get his team back within striking distance but it was the visitors who ended the match on a high, scoring another converted try to make it 38-23 at the end.
Basingstoke director of rugby Croker said: “We got off to a slow start which allowed them to apply pressure early on and were not clinical enough in the strike zone.
“They punished our mistakes, while we must learn to finish off periods of pressure with a score.
“But we showed character in the way we battled back on numerous occasions against a good side.” See The Monday Gazette for a full report.