Oakham RFC may sit one place and two points above Stewarts and Lloyds in the Midlands Two East South league table but on Saturday there were definitely second best as there were out played in Corby.
The Oaks could only muster three points in 80 minutes of rugby while their hosts notched 25 points, securing a bonus point for scoring four tries, three from short range drives.
Oakham head coach Tom Armstrong said: “We never got going that was the problem.
“They have got quite a slope and we were playing up it in the first half and against the wind. We came in at 13-3 at half time and I thought we were on track to have a decent second half.
“The wind and slope was probably a 20 point advantage but we never really got going.
“They just wanted it more than us on the day.”
Despite the coach’s harsh words Oakham put in a concerted effort through out and were camped in the opposition’s 22 for nearly half of the second period but failed to come back with any points against the powerful Stewarts & Lloyds pack.
The Oaks repeatedly kicked for the corner to try and use their potent driving maul to affect, and when they did get it going the maul was as dangerous as ever. Armstrong said it was an “impressive sight” to see the pack trundling the ball up at least 15 metres on one drive.
But S&L were smart to Oakham’s efforts and shut down the opportunities at source, winning and disrupting line out ball to prevent the Oaks forwards from getting organised.
With Oakham pushing for points the hosts hit on the break and scored a try from distance.
Armstrong admitted that he was disappointed to lose at a club down around them in the league and he had marked the fixture down as a winnable one - hoping to get three on the bounce after beating bottom side Peterborough last week.
The Oaks have a week off to train and put their errors right, which was mainly keeping possession as they struggled to string more than three phases together in attack on Saturday.
With Biggleswade next, who are also near the bottom of the table, on November 15 at home Armstrong is looking for a reaction from his players.
He said: “There is no need to panic - it was just a bit of an off day.”
Oakham did go into the match without ten players involved in the home win over Peterborough due to various reasons - some happy ones such as two of the club’s youngsters Nick Houghton and Callum Crellin getting called-up to play for Leicestershire.
However Armstrong was not about to make excuses. He said: “We still had a decent enough team to win. And we need to put it right in the next match.”