Nowak confident that Bracknell RFC can pull off great escapeBy Adam Lee
January 12, 2012
Bracknell player/coach Ben Nowak insists there were plenty of positives to take from Saturday’s defeat to Ampthill, and believes there is more than enough talent at Lily Hill to drag the club out of the National 3 London & South East drop zone.
Bracknell suffered a 60-24 defeat at the hands of the Bedfordshire promotion chasers, the first time the team has conceded 60 points in a game since October 2005.
However, playing with a depleted front row against perhaps the most powerful pack in the division was, according to long-serving centre Nowak, a telling factor in the result.
With hookers Tom England and Joe Clapson unavailable, as well as props Luke Batten and Andy Vanzyl, it was always going to be a tough ask against Ampthill.
But in open play, Nowak insists Bracknell were more than a match for their visitors, only for a lack of killer instinct in the opposition 22 to cost them dear.
“Ampthill are a very strong-set piece side and considering the injuries and unavailabilities we had in the front row then it was always going to be a difficult challenge,” he said.
“They dominated at the scrummage, but there are still lots of positives to take from the game.
“If we had taken a few more of the chances we created then we could have certainly won the bonus point.
“We played a lot of great rugby, and for 40 minutes of the game we played as well if not better than them, but it was just they took their chances and we didn’t.”
Bracknell are hoping to add another prop to the squad in time for this Saturday’s daunting visit to league leaders Canterbury.
They are also hoping to have Vanzyl back available to help bolster their options in the scrum.
And with the squad expected to return to full strength within the next few weeks, Nowak is confident that Bracknell can close the gap on Westcliff and start climbing the table.
“It doesn’t get any easier for us this Saturday, but we will go out there and put on a performance against Canterbury,” he said.
“We are going into the game stronger than we did last weekend and then after that we have a good run of games that are certainly winnable.
“We saw the improvement on Saturday – our work rate and performance was good, but we just missed out on that bonus point.
“We’re still positive. We have a good squad and in the next couple of weeks the players will start to come back and we will have a full squad to select from.
“That will make a big difference and I’m confident that with the right work ethic we can improve our league position.
“It’s a tough league and unfortunately we don’t have a big squad to choose from.
“We are looking to pick up a few players in a few different areas, but in general it’s not a case of needing five or six players, I think one or two should do us fine.”
For a club that has enjoyed top-four finishes for the last four seasons, to be in this position is a huge wake-up call for many.
But for Nowak, who was playing for Bracknell when they were originally relegated to this level, it is a trial he is relishing.
He said: “We have done very well in the past five or six years so this is a good challenge to get our teeth into.
“It’s like competing in our own mini league and it is a good test of character.”