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Basingstoke RFC aim to bounce back with a win
AFTER losing their opening game of the season, Basingstoke RFC go into Saturday’s Hampshire derby at Trojans looking to bounce straight back.
’Stoke suffered a 38-23 defeat at the hands of London One South title favourites East Grinstead last weekend. Director of rugby James Croker says his side are something of a wounded animal.
“We are not a team that takes losing well,” he said. “We are looking for a performance, a bonus point win and to right some wrongs. “We learn from defeats but it is not a habit that we want to get into so hopefully we can go down there and do a job on Trojans.”
Croker was impressed by East Grinstead – but feels that his side could have run the Sussex side a lot closer.
“East Grinstead are a good team and I am confident that they will go through to the last game, when we play them again, unbeaten,” he said. “They are better than Guernsey and Old Elthamians were last year – but we could have won the game.
“We were a bit unlucky to see a try ruled out, while we could have had a penalty try as well. An extra 14 points would have made it a different game so there were lots of positives.”
Eastleigh-based Trojans also lost their opening game of the campaign, going down 23-21 away at Havant. However, Croker is taking nothing for granted and is expecting a tough game in what will be the first of six Hampshire derbies Basingstoke face this season.
“Trojans are always going to have guile and teams seem to raise their games against us in these Hampshire derby games,” he said. “If you look at the league table from last season, we go in as favourites and they will throw everything at us.”
Basingstoke will be strengthened by the return of captain and prop Neil Young, while winger Gareth Kelly should be back after missing the opening game with a groin problem.
He might be asked to play at outside centre, but he could face competition from Freddie Gleadowe, who impressed for the second string last week.
However, Croker will be without Andy Hore, who is unavailable, Simon Appleby, who has a hamstring problem, and Matt Guilfoyle, who remains on the sidelines due to a troublesome groin injury.