BLAIR Hunter promised Droitwich will fulfil all of their remaining fixtures, despite being in the midst of an injury crisis that has rocked the Midlands One West club to the core.
The Monners lost out to Ludlow at The Glyn Mitchell Memorial Ground in a 33-12 defeat last weekend, with tries for Chris Lawley and Joey Roberts, plus a Chris Hooper conversion, not enough to overcome the fifth-placed Linney Men.
With Droitwich dropping to second-bottom in the table, Hunter is positive his side can drag themselves out of their current predicament in the remaining games, despite having a heavily-depleted squad to work with.
“We’ve got to go out and play. We’ve got an obligation to turn up and we will go and honour our remaining fixtures,” said the Monners coach.
“We’ll do our very best, despite having eight or nine long-term injuries. We just don’t have the depth of the likes of Dudley Kingswinford or Lichfield.
“There are seven games left and realistically we think we can go and win four or five of them. They’re against bottom-half teams, and we know that when we have a full squad we’re competitive in every game.
“There’s a significant difference when any side in the bottom half goes up against the top teams, but we feel we can beat most of the teams left to play.
“It’s like the walking wounded at the moment. We’re awaiting confirmation of the players that will be available week by week. Every Tuesday and Thursday, our physio room is packed – I’ve never known anything like it.
“So we’ll collectively breathe a gasp of relief next weekend with the break; hopefully we’ll be able to welcome some players back in a couple of weeks.”
With a trip to eighth-placed Newbold-on-Avon awaiting on Saturday (2.15pm), Hunter admits he is far from optimistic considering the current state of the Droitwich squad.
“With the litany of injuries that we have, it’s a case of strapping players together to get a team out there,” he said.
“I’m worried for Saturday, four or five of our best quality players are out and half of the side will be from the second team.
“As a club we struggle more than most – we only have 22 or 23 players suitable for the first team throughout the club.
“Club morale is good, but we’re struggling and need a break for a few weeks to try and recover.
“[On the flip side] a lot of players have played first-team rugby that wouldn’t have otherwise, though it’s been highlighted that the step up is too great for them. They’ve been the first to hold their hands up and admit that themselves, but they’ll do anything to help the team and we greatly appreciate their efforts. But it is hard to dress up performances at the moment.”
In Saturday’s defeat, the Monners dominated the possession stats but were unable to get the better of Ludlow’s defence, leading Hunter to pay testament to the quality of their rivals’ backs.
“Considering we had 80 per cent of possession and lost, which was very frustrating, we started very slow,” he said.
“We weren’t in the game for the first 20 or 25 minutes and fell behind quite quickly. For the rest of the game we were in try-scoring positions, but committed too many basic errors.
“I talked to their coach after the game and we both agreed that Ludlow had a fantastic defence, especially in the second half.”