AEI’s unbeaten streak ended in a match notable only for the way the AEI lost the mental and physical game so soon after Chris Hadley had opened the scoring with a well worked effort from the whole team.
With such recently comfortable victories and playing a friendly, the AEI team seemed too laid back and not prepared to battle against a determined Cosby side. AEI allowed themselves to be dragged into a physical confrontation, being bullied into submission at the tackle area.
Players also became increasingly frustrated with some of the referee’s decisions and lost their focus on playing the way which had brought them so much early season success. In fact the backline failed to perform with their customary ability in the face of some aggressive defending from the opposing Cosby backs.
Few positives came from the performance – Rory Macdonald showed his versatility in moving from hooker to prop; wingers Tom Oxberry and Chris Hadley demonstrated a maturity and level of effort which some of their more experienced teammates would have done well to emulate. Joe Bott’s try provided some much needed impetus in the second half but was too little in the final analysis.
The generally poor display had been in the offing in recent games and it is with some relief that this came in a non-league fixture: the captain of the AEI expressing his gratitude to Cosby for showing up the flaws which hitherto had only been hinted at.
With two tough away league matches up next, training on Tuesday nights at 7pm at the Rugby Lions will be devoted to addressing the failings which became apparent during such a damp squib of a performance.