Bideford came closer than at any other time this season to winning a game in Western Counties West before losing 13-10 to visiting Saltash.
A win was top of the wish list for Bideford coach Simon Morrell in the basement clash between two teams without one between them.
Saltash came from 10-0 down at half time to win, although Bideford felt they did enough in the second half to win the game.
Four times Bideford got the ball over the line, but on each occasion the referee could not be satisfied it had gone to ground. And a fifth chance to score a try was fumbled away.
Morrell’s disappointment was obvious after the game, although tinged with it were plenty of positive vibes.
“Putting the result to one side for a moment, this was the first time we have really managed to put in that dogged and organised shift in defence,” said Morrell.
“To only concede 13 points, having had a man in the sin-bin, was a big step forward.
“We scored two good tries ourselves and crossed the line on four other occasions to only have them scrubbed off.
“Our set piece was also largely improved.”
Morrell said good performances mean nothing without a win on the end and converting one into the other is the next challenge.
“We need to continue to develop our attack in broken field and the addition of Nick Evans, Rob Elliot and Alessandro Aliberti should accelerate that process for sure,” said Morrell.
Full-back Evans is a new signing, Elliott is just back from injury and Aliberti a promising scrum-half graduate from the colts.
Morrell said missed goal kicks proved costly against Saltash, critical in such a close game.
“Conceivably, we were not far off an impressive win, but it won’t happen unless we continue to work hard and smart during the week.
“I cannot fault the lads in that department: they have been excellent.”
Bideford led 5-3 at half time against Saltash – Dave Quick the try scorer – and Evans added a try after the break.
Bideford are away to leaders Sidmouth this Saturday.