SCARBOROUGH RUFC player-coach Craig Farrell refused to blame the big occasion for his side’s 24-0 loss at Ilkley on Saturday.
Ilkley’s opening of their new £1.6 million clubhouse and the presence of former England player and head coach Martin Johnson coincided with their Yorkshire One fixture with Scarborough.
However, man of the match Farrell did not think that the occasion adversely affected the Seasiders’ performance.
He said: “We deserved to lose to Ilkley but the game was a lot closer than the scoreline would suggest.
“We just never really got going, but that wasn’t down to what was going on with the clubhouse or Martin Johnson.
“The occasion didn’t get to us, we didn’t really make too much of what was going on. We prepared properly and the warm-up went well, we just couldn’t get into the game.
“We were not helped by the referee either, I feel he made a number of questionable decisions which left us all very frustrated.”
Johnson, who only resigned as England team manager five days ago, was introduced to both Ilkley and Scarborough’s playing squads shortly before kick-off.
Backs coach Farrell enjoyed his brief meeting with England’s 2003 World Cup-winning skipper.
He said: “It was very brief with Martin Johnson. However, it is still nice to meet someone who has achieved what he has in the game.
“Even meeting someone fleetingly of that stature, both physically and in terms of who he is, does inspire you as a player.
“It is just disappointing that the game went the way that it did.”
After a result which meant Scarborough slipped to their fifth defeat in their last six games, first team prop and forwards coach Jason Lowde echoed Farrell’s disappointment.
Lowde said: “I am of course disappointed that we failed to make an impact on the game.
“However we have to play with the resources at our disposal and I can assure you that the 18 man squad who turned out in Saturday’s game grafted hard and gave their best.
“What you have is a squad of players who never give less than 100% and what you see is what you get.
“We will continue grafting, we have some tough games coming up but I am sure that the spirit and character in the squad will bring the results we are all (players and supporters) looking for.”