Buxton director of rugby Karl de Groot was happy with his side’s performance last weekend, despite admitting the defeat to Belper effectively ended their hopes of finishing top.
The Bucks suffered a 24-8 reverse at home to their Derbyshire rivals and despite the 16-point margin of defeat, de Groot was full of praise for his side’s efforts.
“It’s old cliché I know, but the result really wasn’t the be all and end all,” he said.
“We were looking for a performance with some structure and we certainly got that.
“I thought that the effort was probably one of our most complete, aside of the scoreline obviously, for months.
“It was pleasing to see the team perform the way we set it up on the day.
“We dominated long periods of the game, with almost 70% possession but found it extremely difficult to break down a well-organised defensive unit.
“I think realistically a third-place finish is our target now and if this group of players achieve that it will have been a cracking effort.
“The future looks bright if we can hold them together.
“We have a cup semi-final shortly, which we should win.
“We would then get another shot at Belper in the final on a firm pitch with some detailed knowledge of how they play, so that should be worth a watch.”
Buxton had high hopes on Saturday in this crunch league game against the table-toppers.
However, these hopes were soon dashed as a well-drilled Belper team kept the hosts at bay throughout.
Belper were first on the scoresheet, capitalising on a Buxton mistake and recycling the ball quickly to the wing where the try was scored.
Just on half-time the visitors extended their lead, punishing one of Buxton’s many attacking plays as they intercepted a pass and scored under the posts.
The second half was much like the first with Buxton applying all the pressure only to be forced into simple mistakes that Belper capitalised on.
Belper scored five minutes into the second half after some sloppy Buxton tackling.
Sircar kicked the Bucks’ first points of the game via a penalty, but the league leaders hit back on the hour.
Buxton’s only try came late on, with Sircar again the catalyst although by that time it was too late to mount a comeback.
This weekend Buxton host Worksop.