BURY Broncos suffered a second tight defeat in as many weeks on Saturday when they were knocked out of the North West Men's League Trophy at Oldham St Annes A.
While coach Dave Kelly was full of praise for his patched up side as they lost to a last-gasp try at Widnes Tigers the previous week, he was not quite so complimentary of his players' efforts at the weekend.
They went down 20-18 in the league's secondary cup competition at a side currently sitting third in Division Three, one tier below the Broncos.
And Kelly was unwilling to hide behind a staggering number 22 players unavailable for selection across the first and second-team squads.
"Irrespective of players missing this was the worst performance of the season so far with a completion rate of just 33 per cent," said Kelly.
"The lads know we did not do ourselves justice.
"But next week is a chance to put things right when we take on Manchester Rangers at home.
"Taken together with a defeat for the seconds, it has, on the face of it, been a disappointing weekend, but given that no less than 22 players were unavailable we have done well to put out 34-plus players, and next week will be a different story."
Oldham scored three converted tries before Broncos got their first points on the board, Ash Warne powering through four would-be tacklers before touching down.
The home side took an 18-4 lead into the break, but Kelly's men came back at them with unconverted tries from Abdou Radwan and Jonno Taylor.
Oldham kicked what proved to be a crucial penalty to make it 20-12, and while Liam Sixsmith ran over for a further Broncos try, this time converted by Blake Roberts, the visitors were unable to complete an unlikely comeback.