Shorn of 5 regular players through injury and holiday unavailability a 14 man team went to Coventrians 2 and suffered their first league defeat of the season.
Ignoring the numerical disadvantage, AEI opened the scoring after a solid 7 man scrum gave possession to the backs and some good support work was finished off by John Stretton.
However, still suffering from the enforced inactivity in recent weeks, returning AEI players were some way short of match sharpness and several lapses in concentration allowed Coventrians to romp into a half time lead of 24-5.
The second half began with AEI in determined mood and a loose pass gave the AEI backs the opportunity to force Coventrians into several more handling errors before AEI finally gathered the ball and fed it down the line for John Stretton to take his try tally into double figures.
Unfortunately due to the lack of numbers and more injuries (which meant AEI finished the match with only 12 players) AEI were unable to maintain the pressure needed to turn the match around. Plaudits must go to the pack which continued to match their numerically superior opponents and to fly half Rob Bollen for his man of the match display in defence.
With no games now until 7 January 2012, the captain can only hope that the break gives enough time for injuries to heal and this defeat galvanises the missing players into committing their Saturday afternoons to ensuring that the season finishes as well as it started.