Sedgley Tigers lost 28-7 to high-flying Rams in National One last weekend to make it back-to-back defeats since their return from the festive break.

But while being disappointed with the scoreline, coach Steve Hazzelby says he could not fault the effort of his Sedgley side against a home team riding high in second place and who had won 40-21 at Park Lane in September.

And there is little time to dwell on it as the Tigers face an even tougher assignment this coming Saturday, at league leaders Chinnor.

Hazzelby said: “Rams were lying second having only lost three games all season and had beaten us in September, so we knew this would be a massive challenge against a team who had very impressive record in National One.

“We were looking for a big reaction after the disappointment of the home loss to Blackheath and were hoping for a solid performance.

“But it was an extremely disappointing loss - and not a great start to the New Year with two consecutive losses.

“On the day three yellow cards and 16 penalties against us made the task almost impossible, and this is something that must be rectified before we go again next Saturday when we are away again - to league leaders Chinnor.

“The effort and endeavour of the players on the day cannot be questioned and we must be positive.

“We beat Chinnor at home earlier in the season but Saturday is a much different challenge and we must prepare well during the week and be ready.”

Against Reading-based Rams, Sedgley started well, looking to build phases within the hosts’ half and they had the chance to score first with a penalty after three minutes but could not convert it.

The Tigers’ lineouts were accurate and gave them a good platform to launch strike plays, but Rams defended really well and kept them out.

They were also awarded a number of scrum penalties that enabled them to relieve pressure and gain territory in Sedgley’s half.

It was from one of these penalties they scored their first try with a well-worked catch-and-drive from their forwards yo put them 7-0 up after 15 minutes.

Sedgley looked to take the game to Rams at every opportunity with good inter-play between forwards and backs, but again the home team were awarded penalty after penalty which gave them possession and territory.

They went further ahead with a well-worked second try for their dynamic flanker after a sharp line break out wide and they went into the break 14-0 up and looking strong. It was a frustrating half for the Tigers who had created a number of good chances but the penalty count against them meant they could not get any momentum or continuity.

They were confident they could get back in the game in the second half but a yellow card for captain Matt Riley on 50 minutes meant they were down to 14 players. Another yellow card for number eight, Tom Ailes, after 66 minutes made things difficult and it was during this period the referee awarded the hosts a penalty try which extended their lead to 21-0 going into the last 15 minutes.

Then, Sedgley tighthead prop, Danny Rylance, was given a yellow card and they were down to 13, looking to play catch-up rugby every time they managed to get possession.

The hosts scored their fourth and bonus-point try after 72 minutes and the win was secure, though the Tigers did manage to get on the scoreboard with a nice try from substitute prop Ozzie in the 79th minute.