Smith says Bury’s players must repay debt in front of home fans
‘A step in the right direction’ was how Bury St Edmunds’ Ollie Smith described his side’s first win of the season on Saturday — but he says his team will be out to repay a debt to the home fans tomorrow.
The Wolfpack are hoping to put the spectre of the opening day’s 50-17 humiliation at home to Tonbridge Juddians to rest when they host another newly-promoted side, in Bristol-based Old Redcliffians this weekend (3pm).
Saturday saw new head coach Smith oversee his first victory after his side’s 20 points accrued in the first half proved just about enough in Coventry in a 20-16 win over Broadstreet.
“We had talked all week about needing a reaction as our performance against Tonbridge Juddians was not good enough,” he said.
“In fairness, after 40 minutes we were 20-3 up and I was very pleased.
“In the second half we lost our way a bit and some strange refereeing decisions were compounded by a few silly mistakes on our part. But we managed to hang on and deserved to win and all-in-all, it was a good step in the right direction again.”
Smith admits it was always going to take time to bed in so many players, but he is adamant his side will give a much better account of themselves on their second outing in front of their home supporters.
“Saturday was a good confidence boost. We have had a good pre-season despite all the changes to the squad and coaching staff.” he said.
“All-in-all we have had some 21 or 22 new players coming in and only 12 or 13 returning, depending on how you classify it.
“It has been a huge overhaul in the playing department and that was always going to take time to gel from a technical aspect as well as a team ethos one.
“We are making progress and we have shown glimpses of what we can do.”
He added: “We let a lot of people down against TJs and I do not expect that kind of performance.
“It was the manner of how we lost that was the big problem. It was not acceptable on our own patch and I said straight away after the Broadstreet game that the reality is we have got to go and prove ourselves this week as we owe those fans.”
The former Leicester Tigers centre, who has a tour with the British and Irish Lions as a player on his CV, admits to not knowing much about their next opponents, but belives they should have confidence in their own abilities.
“A friend of mine coaches there but the reality is we know very little about them,” he said. “Sometimes you get video analysis at this level and for some teams you don’t.
“We know they are likely to be a physical side who we are expecting to be strong in the set piece.
“I still firmly believe that at Bury St Edmunds we need to focus on what we do well and we will be a match for anyone.
“I don’t feel we should have any reason to worry about the opposition.”