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Coach warns his Newmarket rugby players of the dangers of complacency with league return on Saturday

Newmarket Rugby Club have had the wake-up call that was needed to ensure they do not let their promotion shot slip away, according to head coach Martyn Wall.

The Eastern Counties League Greene King 1 West leaders slipped to their first defeat of the term, a 25-10 away loss to March Bears on November 17 – ahead of a lay week – to reduce their league supremacy to just one point.

They are back in action on Saturday, away to Shelford III (2pm) and it is a game Wall has targeted as ‘crucial’ to Newmarket’s advancement ambitions.

Newmarket Rugby Club Newmarket v Cantabs II .795 is Tom Tallant (on his debut match for the 1st XV) Picture Mark Westley. (5627822)
Newmarket Rugby Club Newmarket v Cantabs II .795 is Tom Tallant (on his debut match for the 1st XV) Picture Mark Westley. (5627822)

“This weekend is a chance to put things right,” Wall said.

“It was a very disappointing result in our last time out and it was a bit of a wake-up call for us.

“It reminded us that we can’t take it for granted that we will win every game and, if we do, then we could be in for a nasty shock.

“The loss exposed a few things we need to work on and showed us that we need to continue to develop as a team.

“We are going to have to be really on it in every game, it’s not an easy league and March reminded us of that.

“Shelford are a big and strong club, so it’s important we work really hard on Saturday and look to get a bounce back win.

“Our season is at a bit of a turning point after falling to our first defeat, we could easily lose another and suddenly our promotion chances hang in the balance.

“It is a bit of a crucial game for us.”

Wall said it boded well that the Suffolk side had already defeated the Cambridge side this season, a 29-27 home victory on September 29.

But the narrow gap between the sides suggested it would be a competitive encounter, backed up by the news that they recently defeated March Bears by a 76-5 mauling.

“Everyone is capable of beating anyone in this league,” he said. “And those results show it.

“I don’t think there’s too much pressure on us, one defeat in nine games is pretty good after all.

“But it’s important we don’t become complacent and I see this fixture as a chance to galvanise the squad for the rest of the season.

“A win gets us back on top – and a bonus point would be even better.”

Newmarket lie one point above Cottenham Renegades with 36 points with just five fixtures remaining in Division 1 West.

The league is then due to split, in the new year, with the top two clubs moving into a battle with the top two clubs from the North and South regions, for promotion.

Wall said he is ‘quietly confident’ of Newmarket reaching this stage but needed the team to put in their best efforts ahead of the Christmas break.

“We’re close,” he said. “I’m quietly confident of being a top two club come the split, but need to make sure we keep our focus.”