Injury-ravaged Slough slump to heavy defeat
By Anthony Smith
SLOUGH RFC coach Paul Rendall rued his side's back luck after a heavy defeat at mid-table Aylesbury.
Slough's timing could not have been worse as they were missing almost half of their team through injury and unavailability.
By stark contrast, Aylesbury reaped the benefit of a number of returning players and were back to full-strength for the clash.
And the difference on the day was evident as the hosts racked up a half-century of points to complete a league and cup treble over Slough this season.
It was a disappointing day all-round for Rendall as Aylebury's narrow win over whipping bows Marlborough recently had boosted Slough's hopes before kick-off.
Former England international Rendall admitted: "I was hoping for more after Aylesbury's poor performance against Marlborough when they only won 15-5.
"But they were back to full strength on Saturday while we were missing six players. We were back to square one."
And a lack of continuity in team selection has been a thorn in Slough's side all season.
"It's never easy when you keep having to change your team so much," groaned Rendall. "We keep having to take four or five from the second team which leaves them weaker so it's not good for the club as a whole.
"I just hope we can find a bit more strength and depth from somewhere."
And he stressed: "After winning promotion, 11 players left us at the end of the last season for mostly work reasons.
"It wasn't ideal preparation for going up a division."
Slough were up against it from the first whistle as Aylesbury scored an early try through flanker Adam Bown.
They crossed the line twice more through Jim Dodds and Chris Liddington for a 19-0 lead at half-time, but Slough responded after the break with an early score of their own for 19-5.
However, it only served to refocus Aylesbury with Mike Durose grabbing a brace of tries to secure the bonus point and put the home side 31-5 in front.
Further scores for Matt Styles - who also became the third home back-row player to be sinbinned - and James Woodfall saw Aylesbury over the 50-point mark.
And though Slough did manage to cross the line for their second try of the day, it all added up to a disappointing experience for the under-strength Greenies.
The good news for Slough is that they are almost certain to avoid relegation from Southern Counties North as Broadmoor are already down after pulling out of the division.
And Marlborough - beaten by Slough for the second time this season the other week - look certain to follow Broadmoor as they are marooned at the foot of the table, a full 16 points adrift of Rendall's men.
"It's been an up and down season," added Rendall. "I've been a bit worried about complacency now it looks like we're staying in the division after beating Marlborough again.
"But losing at Aylesbury wasn't good and I'll be looking for a response this weekend."
Next up for Slough is a potentially winnable home fixture against Wallingford at Upton Court Park this Saturday (2.15pm ko).
The Greenies remain one place off the foot of the table, with Wallingford immediately above them. Slough put up a good fight at Wallingford earlier in the season before losing 36-22.
"We hope to have some players back," stated Rendall. "When we have a full team we are capable of beating anyone."