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Andy Long gives Bishop's Stortford a six out of 10 for their first half of the National League 1 season following derby defeat at Cambridge

Andy Long scored his Bishop's Stortford side a six out of 10 in his half-term report as they signed off for 2019 with a 23-16 defeat at Cambridge.

The director of rugby saw his side lose for the third season running at Volac Park as they were made to pay for not taking their chances.

It means Stortford end the calendar year in 10th place in National League 1 with 41 points from 16 games.

But that is marked improvement from 12 months ago when the team had to produce a great escape to climb off the foot of the table in January and avoid the drop.

"We knew it was going to be a decent battle, but unfortunately we conceded an early try, which was poor," said Long.

"We were playing into the wind in the first half and knew we needed to maintain territory, but we conceded an unfortunate penalty which gave them the early momentum to get the try.

"Every time we scored we allowed them to score back. We had some very good opportunities before half time which we didn't take and after half time it was pretty much the same. We were hammering on the door quite a lot but couldn't get through.

"Cambridge defended well and we couldn't take our chances when they came which ultimately cost us.

"This time last year we were bottom of the league and this year we're in a much better position. Injuries are starting to take their toll now, but all in all the first half of the season I'd probably give a six out of 10.

"There's definitely room for improvement, but considering where we were this time last year we've already made a big improvement."

Stortford have this weekend off - their first Saturday of the campaign without a game - before returning to action against Birmingham Moseley at Silver Leys on January 4.

There was better luck for the Blues as they registered a 26-0 success against Cambridge Wanderers in Raging Bull Shield, Division One.

Thomas Hitchcock scored two tries and there was one apiece for Sam Brown and Alfie Perring. Tom Walker successfully converted three of the scores.

Louis Castiglione was named man of the match for his bruising ball carrying and granite-like defence in the bonus-point win as the Blues, who won the reverse fixture 64-36, did the double over their derby rivals.

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