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Harding wants to end campaign on a high note
PAUL Harding admits it is “sink or swim” time for his Weymouth side in Southern Counties South over the next few weeks.
With five league matches left, including two against in-form Wimborne, the first of which is at home tomorrow (2.30pm), Weymouth will not want to end the season on a low note.
Five losses in as many games has seen Harding’s men drop to ninth in the table and with fixtures to come against clubs that are all above them in the division it will not get much easier in the closing stages of the campaign.
There were some positive things to come out of last Saturday’s 30-10 defeat to Walcot but not being able to pick the same combinations consistently ultimately did for them.
That is something Harding hopes can be remedied to some extent tomorrow.
“We do three or four really good things then someone doesn’t stay on their feet or goes to ground too quickly and it’s really frustrating,” he said. “If we can just sort out these issues we will do better.
“It’s a hard league and when you’re travelling away and going with different players every time it’s hard to get any consistency. Having different combinations makes life very hard.
“We played some good stuff in the first half last Saturday and with a cutting edge would have scored more points.
“There are players coming up from second team rugby who haven’t played at first-team level and it is a big gap.
“People are trying to find their feet and when they come in they can make an impact initially but doing it week in and week out is a lot harder.
“Hopefully we can turn things around today but Wimborne have been going really well and are near the top of the table.”
On the short-term future, he went on: “We’ve then got Corsham and Wimborne away, Devizes at home then Dorchester away so the next few weeks are going to be interesting.
“We are playing some good sides so it will be sink or swim for us.”
Harding hopes to have a bigger squad to choose from with props Tim Comben and Max Valance aiming for a comeback while Harry Charles is available and both Joel Gibson and Craig Barter should be in the frame.
Weymouth Seconds host Ellingham & Ringwood Seconds in Dorset & Wilts Two South (3pm) and Weymouth Ladies also take on Ellingham & Ringwood in a home friendly on Sunday (2pm).
Dorchester have the ideal opportunity to halt an alarming run of five successive defeats when they go to Southern Counties South whipping boys Supermarine (2.30pm).
An 18-9 reverse at home to Sherborne last time out extended Dorchester’s poor run of form while tomorrow's opponents were thrashed 78-5 at leaders Devizes.
Dorchester Seconds are also on the road with North Dorset Thirds their opponents in Dorset & Wilts Two South (2.30pm).
Bridport are enjoying life after a much-needed win last time out against Westbury and they have an imminently winnable game away to Salisbury Seconds in Dorset & Wilts One South (3pm).
Meanwhile, Puddletown will hope to continue their push for a top-three finish in Dorset & Wilts Two South when they make the short trip to Turlin Moor to take on local rivals Poole (2.30pm).
Relative form over the last two games could not be more contrasting, and while the Villagers were securing back-to-back bonus point wins, scoring 16 tries into the bargain, their hosts have twice been on the wrong end of a 50-point plus scoreline.
But the form book can often count for nothing in derby games and with sixth-placed Poole desperate not only to halt their slide but also to avenge the 3-0 defeat at Greenfields back in November, Puddletown will have to be at their best to come away with a result.
Dan Udell, who missed last weekend’s victory over North Dorset, returns to complete a full-strength squad.
The omens do not look good for Swanage & Wareham as a trip to Bracknell (2.15pm), eight points clear at the top of South West One East, awaits the club at the foot of the table.