Narrow home defeat is tough for Plymouth Albion coach Nat Saumi to take
PLYMOUTH Albion coach Nat Saumi admitted it is not easy watching his team keep suffering narrow defeats.
Albion went down to their fourth loss in a row by just a single score when they were agonisingly beaten 28-27 by second-placed Bedford Blues at Brickfields on Saturday.
That followed on from a 34-31 defeat at Rotherham, a 28-26 reverse at Leeds and a 9-6 loss to oseley.
But on Saturday Albion came closer than ever before to claiming their first league win since November 9 when they had a last-gasp conversion to win the match and cause a major upset.
Canadian international Aaron Carpenter scored a try in the sixth minute of injury-time and Paul Roberts could have won the game for Albion had he kicked the touchline conversion.
However, his effort missed by the narrowest of margins, meaning Plymouth's long losing run continues.
"The win was the target for this week," said Saumi (left). "We had played well in those two losses up in Yorkshire and we thought an upset was on the cards, but we didn't get it.
"The players played very well. They came together as a team. We just have to keep working hard and, hopefully, soon a result will go our way."
Saumi felt Saturday's defeat was harder to take than the losses against Rotherham, Leeds and Moseley.
"I think so because we were playing at home and played very well," he said.
"We knew the game was there for the taking."
He added: "It is quite hard to take sometimes (narrowly losing), especially when some basic mistakes in defence cost us. We gave them some easy tries."
Saumi was also a bit disappointed his team gave their opponents a good start for the third week running.
At Leeds, Albion went 21-6 down and on Saturday and against Rotherham they went 14-0 down before fighting back.
"We reminded them about that, but it happened again," he said. "We gave them a start and then we are chasing the game.
"But the players know the game is 80 minutes and we caught them up second half and we were nearly there, but just didn't finish it off."
Saumi admitted he did not see Roberts' conversion attempt properly. However, he wished his team had scored closer to the posts to have made the goalkicker's job easier.
"I thought when we were playing we were going to stay close to the posts," he said. "But we identified some space out wide and that is what rugby is about – attacking space.
"It then came down to Paul. He had done really well last week, but it was a hard kick for him.
"We didn't get it but that's the way it goes."
Albion also paid for going for the corner on four occasions in the second half from penalties only to then lose the line-outs, including three when they were 22-21 up.
"That was the confidence the boys had," said Saumi. "They trusted themselves and they went for it, but we lost them. It's their call and I'm happy with whatever decision they go with."
For the second week running Albion did pick up two bonus points for scoring four tries and finishing within a score of their opponents.
"It is two more points and it all adds up," said the Fijian. "We'll just keep doing what we are doing and, like I said, hopefully it will come."
He added: "Scoring four tries is a confidence boost for the club, but we still lost the game. It is all about having that 'W'.
"But hopefully the confidence will build and build and they will get there."
On what did please him about his side's display in front of their own fans, Saumi said: "The way we were keeping the ball and trusting our system, especially the backs. A couple of moves we worked from a scrum ended with Cush (Ruairi Cushion) showing under the posts.
"And the players also showed lots of character to keep fighting until the final whistle."