Our weekly chat with Cockles head coach Steve Perry

PUBLISHED: 08:00 13 March 2019

Lineout action from the Cockles  game at Bournemouth. Picture JASON FAHY

Lineout action from the Cockles game at Bournemouth. Picture JASON FAHY

Archant

Once again the buzz word, in terms of the thoughts of Cockles head coach Steve Perry after the defeat at Bournemouth, was ‘consistency’.

Jack Fahy in the thick of the action during the Cockles game at Bournemouth. Picture JASON FAHYJack Fahy in the thick of the action during the Cockles game at Bournemouth. Picture JASON FAHY

Perry said: “The team played very well for long stretches of the game and the way the contest panned out was not too similar to our meeting with them at the Imperial ground earlier in the campaign.

“On that occasion, as was the case in Hampshire last weekend, we began very well and enjoyed good periods of early pressure, but what they [Bournemouth] and other top sides do so well is apply ‘game management’. It was on the hour mark when they increased the tempo to a level where we were then struggling to cope, but only because of the commitment we had given since the start of the match.”

He continued: “Consistency is the key and removing, from our general game, those little errors that seem to reoccur, while, for the top sides, they are more ruthless and, when they get the chance to see a team off, they execute their game plan perfectly.

“What Bournemouth did very well when they had the opportunity, was to play for field position and, unlike us in that early period of the match when we really did have our sails up, they were able to convert pressure into points, whereas we tended to let silly, and little, errors, bring to an end promising situations.”

The Cockles coach was delighted with certain aspects of the team performance. In particular he had high praise for the scrum.

He said: “Our front row performed admirably and the scrum was really good. I also thought that deep in the heart of our engine room we were ‘at it’ and, as I have already alluded too, for long periods there really was not a lot between the teams.

“Yes, folk may look at the final score and say the margin of points dictates that it was an ‘easy’ win for Bournemouth, but that was certainly not the case – certainly in the hour before, they did ruthlessly seal the game, and, with a little greater consistency and perhaps a little more belief, we can look to a bright future where we are in the position that they are now in.”

So, having played a team that look well placed to finish second [Barnstaple] and then the champions [Bournemouth secured the title with four games to play with that win over the Cockles], what is the over-riding feeling of the head coach.

He replies: “That we really are not far away. We have a good group in the dressing room and, if we can keep learning and aspire to get better on a game-by-game basis, the new will go on and enjoy a bright future.”

As for the head coach, he is only looking at things on a season-by-season basis, but there is little doubt that he wants to ‘stick around’.

He says; “We still have four matches to play and, as things stand, that’s my season done. As for the future, of course I would like very much to be given the honour of continuing my work from this first season at the club. It’s a smashing club with lots of potential and has some very good folk involved in all departments. As a coach, my remit is to try to make sure we improve, individually and collectively, the players at the club and I’d like to think we are at that ‘work in progress’ stage with many of the players who, to my mind, can still improve and go on to enjoy great success in the game. That said, I am also a great believer that, as a player, you must enjoy what you do and I see a lot of players at the Imperial Ground doing just that right now.”

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