PEWSEY Vale coach Mick Haynes says his side’s long-awaited first win of the season was a reward for their unstinting commitment.
Vale ended a 14-match losing streak in Dorset & Wilts One North by defeating Fairford 16-12 at their Wilcot Road base last Saturday.
The victory seems unlikely to prevent their relegation at the end of the campaign – Pewsey are at least 15 points adrift of safety with only seven matches remaining – but Haynes hopes it will at least help them end a difficult campaign with a flourish.
The strugglers have been beset by player departures and a significant injury list.
But although their second team was forced to pull out of Dorset & Wilts Three North due to a lack of numbers, unlike several sides in the league system this season, Pewsey’s first team have fulfilled every single one of their 15 fixtures to date.
Haynes admitted: “It has been a difficult season.
“Our players are 40 per cent serving military, drawing from Tidworth, Bulford and Perham Down.
“For the first half of the season we had 12 in Afghanistan and most of the remainder in Canada on exercise and now Kenya.
“As with every year the farmers were busy right at the start and three key players also left the area.
“This has been compounded by a significant injury list – three broken legs, a broken eye socket and a broken thumb; as well as the usual strains and sprains.
“Our second team managed to play until mid November, but lack of numbers meant we defaulted on our league obligations and had to withdraw from the league.”
James Haynes scored 11 points, with centre Phil Vallis touching down for a try as Pewsey fought back from a 12-3 deficit to break their league duck.
Recruitment is also picking up, with Richie Appleton, the Army RFU Academy coach, joining the ranks, and coach Haynes added: “Some of our results did not reflect our effort and the balance of the games, but you have to finish off.
“The forwards have been the mainstay and it has been lack of available backs that has been our main weak point.
“We have managed to fulfil all our first team fixtures, but, with the disruption to team selection many of our first halves were spent sorting out ,with much better second-half performances.
“The spirit in the club has seen us through and will continue to do so. I cannot fault my players or their commitment. Hopefully we will end the season with a more success.’’
Meanwhile, Marlborough host Abingdon in the final of the Southern Counties Vase at The Common on Saturday (2pm).
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