Tics badly need win after four defeats in six starts
TORQUAY Athletic face Exeter Saracens on the Recreation Ground this Saturday in urgent need of a win.
The Tics were scuppered 41-31 at St Austell last time out, which was their fourth defeat in six starts.
Last season on their way to the promotion play-offs, where they lost, Torquay were only beaten four times in total.
Promotion was Torquay's stated aim this season, but that looks a long way off for a team currently placed ninth out of 14.
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Injuries have done Torquay no favours this season – and the latest misfortune to befall them was an outbreak of a stomach virus.
James Wood didn't play at St Austell, Steve Smith didn't start and Tony McCarthy, Jonny Brown and Carl Turner all soldiered on despite suffering the effects.
To make matters worse, skipper Alex Smith was struggling with a chest infection from the start and only just made it to half time before wheezing off.
Colin Whitford, Torquay's director of rugby, said while it was possible to trot out excuses, actions speak louder than words.
"We all need to look at what we did well and do more of it – and look at what we did wrong and learn from it," said Whitford.
"We are making our chances of promotion difficult, but there is still a chance we can turn things around but only with the right attitude on match days and at training.
"We have no immediate plans to change our game plan."
Torquay's first-up tackling was an issue at St Austell and contributed to them trailing 24-12 at the break.
A comedy collision when Adam Chadwick and full-back Jonny Brown ran into each other going for the same bouncing ball cost Torquay one of their tries.
Russ Morris crashed over for Torquay's first try then Smith set up Joe Briggs for the second, which Alex Jeffrey converted.
St Austell were 36-12 up when Torquay got on the scoresheet again, this time when Morris followed up behind Jon Woodhead. Jeffrey knocked over the goal.
Woodhead, prominent throughout, claimed one of two tries in the dying moments to earn the Tics a bonus point.
The other was banked by centre Joe Ward, whose chip-and-chase try was converted by Jeffrey with the final kick of the match.
Back at the Recreation Ground the Extras went down 52-10 to Exmouth Quins. Torquay Quins were 24-5 winners over Exmouth Nomads at Torre Valley North.
KINGSBRIDGE will be aiming for a bounceback win at Bideford this Saturday after going down 28-26 to Truro.
Truro were hanging on for the last five minutes with 12 men on the field after two sin-binnings and a straight red card were issued by Newton Abbot whistler Will Thomas.
Kingsbridge had left themselves just a little bit too much to do after going 21-6 down early in the second half and ran out of time to catch up.
Ben Newman landed two first half penalties before he went off injured. Andy Rossiter, Duncan Lilburn and James Trout posted second half tries for Kingsbridge. Ashley Treeby kicked a penalty and a conversion.