BLETCHLEY head coach Stuart Van Rooyen came on to score two tries in his side’s narrow defeat to Swanage & Wareham, but now wants his players to step up to the mark and beat local rivals High Wycombe this Saturday.
A long trip to Dorset brought a gut-wrenching 29-28 defeat for Bletchley, but the visitors did at least leave with two very welcome bonus points for their efforts, keeping them out of the South West 1 East danger zone in 10th place.
But it was still their fifth defeat in six games, and Van Rooyen says the visit of second from bottom Wycombe is a must win game for his men as they try to get over the disappointment of losing two matches they could, and maybe should, have won.
After Van Rooyen’s second try at Swanage, Bletchley missed the subsequent conversion, and with it the chance to pick up their first away win of the season – a week after a late missed penalty cost them at home to Coney Hill.
“We won a lot of games last season but didn’t climb the table because we weren’t picking up bonus points,” said Van Rooyen. “And now this year we are picking up bonus points but not winning games.
“We have taken four bonus points from the last two games which is almost as good as a win, but it could have been even better. We could be fourth in the table. How sickening is that?”
With a couple of players pulling out of Bletchley’s trip to the south coast at late notice, Van Rooyen got his kit on for the first time this season and touched down twice in the space of 16 minutes to completely change the game. He hasn’t ruled out coming on again against Wycombe, but at the age of 39, would rather leave it to his players to get the job done.
However, despite Wycombe’s lowly league position, Van Rooyen is expecting a tough game – particularly because Bletchley did the double over their rivals last season, having not previously beaten them since the 1970s.
“They’re our closest rivals and always give us a tough test,” said the head coach. “They won’t be near the bottom of the table for long and will want to come here and prove a point after we beat them last season.
“But we won’t be having that. We don’t want them coming here thinking they can take something. The players will be really up for it.
“We have a good team here and if we can get the wins that we’re coming close to then we’ll start climbing the table soon.”