Top four breakthrough earns Shelford a new set of targets
Advancing game management the next aim
Gareth Evans has set Shelford the challenge of improving their game management, despite them earning their first win over a top-four side this season last weekend.
They clinched a 26-22 win over fourth-placed Hertford in National League Three, London & SE at the Davey Field.
Tries from Tuli Paea, Jamie Beswick and Simon Hrbek, who also landed a penalty, and eight points from Josh Simmons secured Shelford their victory.
“It was a fantastic win for us,” said head coach Evans. “That’s the first time we’ve beaten one of the top-four teams this season, and to do that at home we’re really, really pleased.
“It was about identifying the opportunities really and where those mis-matches and gaps were and being able to exploit them.
“When we saw the space, we identified it really well and executed and took our chances.”
Shelford have a strong record at home, having only been beaten on their own turf by Wimbledon this season, but they had long spells of defending to do against Hertford.
And having established a good lead, they were pegged back and made to sweat it out at the end.
“We thought we held them out pretty well for that first 30 minutes as playing up the slopes is always a little bit difficult – and to then score two tries just before half time was great,” said Evans.
“To score just after half time meant we were in control but after that we didn’t quite get our game management right, didn’t quite play in the right areas at the right times and in the end we made it really difficult for ourselves.
“A little bit of our game management was questionable at times. When we go 23-12 up we’ve really got to pin them in their 22 and not let them out and not give them an option to score.
“But we will work on our game management throughout the week and we’ve got another tough game next week against Westcombe Park.
“It’s about pressure – putting the players under pressure in training so that they can make these clear, conscious decisions. It’s about them understanding the game plan and what we’re trying to do in what areas of the field.
“When you’re out here on a Saturday afternoon and the crowds are baying, it is a tough thing to do but hopefully we will really gain from the match
“It was a big game for us to win and it will be a big confidence boost going forward.”