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Neil Dacthler praises character of Sudbury side following Harpenden victory

Sudbury’s fighting spirit earned praise from head coach Neil Dachtler following their much-needed first London 1 North victory of the season, 20-12 over visitors Harpenden on Saturday.

“We worked hard for it,” said Dachtler. “We’ve worked hard all week. It started at the end of the game last week (41-21 defeat by Shelford). We were down in the doldrums, and it took a bit of picking up. This week training’s been good. And of course we had two players back, and they make a bit of a difference.”

Dachtler was encouraged by Sudbury’s response following tries by Harpenden. “The main thing for me was that, after they scored, we didn’t drop our heads. We had the belief in ourselves to get back into scoring ways and pull away again. This was something we spoke about before the game. We have got to have belief in ourselves, in our ability.”

Sudbury 20 Harpenden 12 - Sam Bixby holds off a tacklePicture: Jen McElroy (18181927)
Sudbury 20 Harpenden 12 - Sam Bixby holds off a tacklePicture: Jen McElroy (18181927)

But Dachtler was only too aware of some self-inflicted problems.

“Our play is sometimes still scrappy,” he said, “we’re still not getting clean ball. Maybe it’s wrong decisions being made under pressure. We just need to have a bit more cohesion between certain players. We are a long way from being the finished article, but it will come.”

The penalty count was once again an issue for Sudbury, conceding five in the first 25 minutes, three in the first eight. “We have to understand what the referee’s interpretation is, and work with that, not just offsides, but when to go for the ball in the ruck and when to leave it alone. That’s the difference between achieving and not achieving our goals,” said Dachtler.

Team manager Simon Dain felt Sudbury had been unlucky with some of the offside decisions. “We’ve always been a quick team getting off. The coaches have been telling the boys that when we are standing ready we just have to call ‘onside onside’ so the referee’s got that in his head and when we do shoot off we’re not getting caught,” he said.

“We needed that victory as a group of coaches,” said Dain, “and the boys needed it as a team. It’s a big positive to win at home. We want it to be difficult for teams to come here. This has got to be the place where we pick up maximum points.”

Sudbury, now third from bottom after four matches, travel to Amersham & Chiltern (8th) on Saturday (3pm).

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