Ross Stewart considers a change of tack for Cambridge
Final two matches may allow Cambridge to experiment
Ross Stewart feels it may be time to mix things up for Cambridge in their final two matches of the National League One season.
They suffered a disappointing 43-40 defeat at home to Blaydon last Saturday, meaning their run without a win at Volac Park stretches back to November.
And it was a game that seemed within their grasp, but a catalogue of errors gave their plucky opponents the opportunities to continually hit back.
Tries from Dan Lewis, Ean Griffiths, Albert Portsmouth, Mike Ayrton, Louis Rawlings and Matt Hema helped earn a bonus point, but the all-important score was from Blaydon’s Keith Laughlin in the 81st minute.
It left Cambridge director of rugby Stewart struggling to put his feelings into context.
“I genuinely am lost for words,” he said. “We’ve got to put the guys in scenarios. At the start of the year we probably had quite a simple game plan and very often players can switch off.
“You get to this time of the year and they make a call and there is no thought process in that call so ‘what’s in front of me?’.
“And I think we’ve got in that unfortunate stage where as a coaching group perhaps we need the next two games to mix it up completely – start to kick more, let’s start to go wide, wide.
“We are a player-led group, when they’re on the pitch it’s their decisions. The answer is scenarios, learning from our mistakes and that’s where we probably letting ourselves down a little bit.
“There is a little bit of a lack of learning.”
When things are that close to falling into place, it often presents more encouraging challenges to turn things around, although that was not how Stewart felt immediately after the game.
“There are loads of little things that add up and there are factors in that that are a little bit out of our control,” he said. “I’ll be honest, I think at this point now, it’s hard, it’s disappointment.
“I know it’s a tough time of year with contract negotiations, people leaving, people staying, but the hard fact is that we pride ourselves on pride and passion of the club, regardless of what we’re doing, it’s giving 100 per cent.
“That was something we said right at the start of the season, for us to survive this league we have to be giving 100 per cent every time.
“If teams come here and beat us because they are better teams, they work harder, they are better organised, all those things, then what can we do.
“So I suppose the positive thing is we’re not anywhere near that and we’re still in and around the games and we’re in the league.”