Howman left disappointed as Weston miss out on 40th anniversary of Welsh clash
PUBLISHED: 11:30 30 January 2020
Alex Howman was disappointed Weston couldn't mark their 'bigger occasion' against Barnstaple with a win on the 40th anniversary of their John Player Cup tie against London Welsh on Saturday.
Watched by a strong crowd including five of the 15 players who lined up that day in Paul Burgess, Mike Fletcher, John Hopkins, Colin Price and Mark Sibley, Howman admits Weston's first home defeat in 14 games was a bitter pill to swallow.
"We pride ourselves playing at home, we don't lose here very often but credit to Barnstaple they played well.
"I think we were unbeaten here since December 2018, so it's a hard loss to take especially when we could have been top of the league and close the gap.
"But the boys played well, full of heart but unfortunately Barnstaple didn't let us in and came away with the victory.
"Everyone knows about the occasion 40 years ago playing London Welsh and having a few of those boys down to watch us made it an even bigger occasion against top of the league."
Left winger Howman was delighted with his side's start, after opening the scoring inside two minutes with his eighth try of the season.
"I'm obviously pleased with myself, a great team try," he said.
"The forwards down the edge came wide and a easy run over to me. It was a great start.
"We were bubbling well in the warm-up, confidence was building, we started really well."
But, despite coming into game with five changes from their win over Exeter University, Howman was full of praise for the lads who stepped up.
"We are missing quite a few players through injuries and it's good to see boys come in and step up as well," he added.
"I feel like even though there are boys missing the standard of our sport didn't drop, the standard of our level of rugby which is good to see."
Weston travel to Devon to take on Exmouth on Saturday and Howman hopes they can perform as they did earlier in the season when they picked up their biggest victory of the campaign.
He said: "It's a hard place to go Exmouth, hopefully we will be able to go there and turn them over and keep the gap as narrow as we can to Barnstaple.
"It's always hard coming off a loss, but you bottle up this feeling, the energy you had from the loss and go again into next week."