RUGBY: Saddling up

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Devizes John Angell on the attack during his side's win over Sherborne last weekend Devizes John Angell on the attack during his side's win over Sherborne last weekend

DEVIZES manager Stuart Hadden reckons his side’s new-found spirit will be the key to a successful season for the Saddlebacks.

Devizes, who narrowly missed out on promotion from the Southern Counties South Division last season, moved top of the table last weekend as Andy Thompson’s last-gasp penalty earned Hadden’s men a 20-18 victory over second-placed Sherborne.

Devizes are aiming to get over the line and clinch the title this time around but first-team boss Hadden believes they are still improving.

“We’ve got so much more belief and character this season and we’ve been in a few games where we’ve led, then gone behind but still managed to get the win right at the end – we don’t know when we’re beaten,” he said.

“Saturday was a big game for us and I said to the boys that we couldn’t afford a slip-up against those guys because they’d punish it.

“It was 18-17 and we had a penalty with the last kick of the game but Andy Thompson hit it right between the posts and that was it.

“We’re top of the league now and we want to prove that we’re the best side in this division but we’re not firing on all cylinders quite yet.

“I think that there’s still an extra 20 per cent left and once we click, we’re going to be a real force.”

Devizes travel to Wimborne in the semi-finals of the Dorset & Wilts 1st XV Cup this weekend with Hadden expecting a tough test in Dorset.

He said: “They’re going to be after revenge after we already beat them on their own patch earlier this season (a 20-10 triumph on the opening day of the season.)”

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