SIMON SMITH: Cleckheaton performance our best yet

Scarborough RUFC coach Simon Smith's column
Scarborough RUFC coach Simon Smith's column

I was very impressed with Saturday’s 29-19 win at Cleckheaton - I’d go as far as to say that is possibly our best team performance in my time as coach of the club.

Take someone so influential like Matty Jones out of the side, add in that Manning Smith and Tom Harrison weren’t available and Ben Martin had to come off injured, and it really is a challenge to go away to a team in the run of form that Cleckheaton were enjoying.

We had to have a bit of a re-shuffle, with Ian Williams coming into the side and 51-year-old Tom Fish coming with us on the bench and eventually putting in a solid 20-minute performance.

Sam Dawson said in the week he would give it a go at tight-head prop, and he did very well there considering it’s not his usual position.

One of the most pleasing factors for me was their captain coming up to me after the game and saying our defence was immense.

That is so pleasing to hear as a coach, particularly as we have been working very hard on that aspect of our game all season and it is really starting to pay off for us now.

You really have to embrace defence as a team if you’re going to master it, and embrace that physical approach to a game and defending your line.

We certainly showed that on Saturday, there were a couple of phases of play where they were camped on our line and we had to dig in and put bodies on the line, and we did just that.

On a couple of occasions we actually managed to break away and turn defence into attack, which was incredibly pleasing and even more pleasing is that people are recognising the work

e are putting in and the results that work is achieving out on the pitch.

We played some cracking rugby going forward too and scored some good tries, also having a couple disallowed during the game.

It really was an exceptional team performance and I was really pleased with everyone involved.