Full-back Cam Cowell and No 8 Ollie Stedman, who both impressed in the win over Bedford last time out, and skipper Michael Hills joined a host of other regulars on the sidelines in Saturday’s 17-6 defeat against third-placed Coventry at the Butts Park Arena.
“We had to bring in players from other clubs as cover and despite the fact that they only trained with us on Thursday in addition to taking part in Friday’s captain’s run, they did well – especially Matthew Postlethwaite who was probably our best player,” said director of rugby Clive Griffiths.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game because Coventry have spent money and recruited well but I couldn’t fault the players for effort and I felt it was a very gritty performance,” said Griffiths on Sunday. “It was a one-score game going into the final quarter and as such it was disappointing not to come away with anything on the day.
Griffiths said the outcome of two kicks played a big part in the result and underlined the fact that Knights aren’t getting the breaks at a time when they most need them.
“Steve McColl kicked through early on but the ball went dead when he hacked it on again whereas the ball sat up nicely for their wing in the build-up to their second try in the final quarter,” he said.
Knights had taken an early lead with a Sam Olver penalty but fell behind after prop Robin Hislop was sin-binned.
“I’ve no argument with the decision because it was a no arms tackle,” he said. “But once again we were made to pay and they scored from a catch and drive to lead 5-3.”