GRAHAM DAWE did not want to blame the club’s off-the-field problems for his side’s shock 52-13 defeat at Ampthill.
Albion had not lost since the start of January and had won 13 of their previous 14 matches.
But they were a shadow of their usual selves at Dillingham Park.
They weren’t helped by a number of injuries to key players and arriving late due to traffic chaos around Bedfordshire caused by the closure of the M1, but Dawe refused to use those as excuses or worries over the club’s future.
Saturday was Albion’s first game since they gave notice of their intention to go into administration to sell the club.
When asked if his players had been unsettled by events off the field and concerns over payments and points deductions, Dawe said: “I have not picked that up.”
He added: “We can’t look for any excuses. We came up against a good side. They were good in the contact area and defensively they stopped us getting too much momentum.
“Fair play to them, they played exceptionally well.”
Albion had lost the services of captain Jake Murphy, Ethan Ford and Rupert ahead of Saturday’s game and they then lost Cameron Setter, Ed Holmes, Harrison Cully and James Penman during the match.
Scrum-half Setter and lock Holmes had to go off in the first half.
“It does not help when you lose front-line players early,” said Dawe. “But it was an opportunity for other players to step up to the mark. The whole squad did well, but we just did not maintain pressure first half when we had opportunities and we gave them easy field position.
“And once they got in front in conditions like that it was always going to be hard for us to maintain confidence.”
Dawe felt two controversial converted tries in the space of four minutes in the final 15 minutes of the first half were key moments. That left his team 21-3 down at the break.
“A forward pass is the referee’s call, but the knock-on was the one that hurt us really,” said Dawe. “In that position on the field – six or seven metres out – it was a tough one for the guys to accept.”
But Dawe is hoping his team can bounce back from the heavy loss.
“We have risen as a team and we have to rise again as a team. We have to believe in what we have done in the past and keep believing,” he said.
The defeat has dropped Albion down from third in the table to fifth and ended any hopes they had of finishing top.