SWINDON came agonisingly close to snatching a draw from their clash with high-flying Old Centralians on Saturday before ultimately losing out 24-12.

Fly-half Adam Westall kicked all the Greenbridge Road side’s points going into the final two minutes against the side second in South West 1 East, where the home side were camped in the Old Cents 22 only trailing 19-12.

But after seeing a lineout picked off when attempting a catch and drive to level the scores, Swindon conceded a late try which took them out of bonus point range.

Despite the near-miss coach Neil Loader was happy with his side’s performance in a game he always knew would prove a tough one.

“I was really pleased with the way the boys went about things because when it got down to the last two minutes we were still in the game,” he said.

“We were camped in their 22 and we really looked like we might be able to snatch something, even though they had defended superbly all afternoon.

“We didn’t get too much out of them and Adam (Westall) scored all our points with the boot, but we kept going and that was pleasing.

“I think we had a couple of things go against us, though, firstly at a lineout right at the end of the game where I think the Old Cents player came across the line too far, and they were able to clear and thump it up the field.

“They then got a scrum which they won and then they scored again which ended it. The right team won, that is for sure, but we played very well and there is plenty for us to be positive about, even though we missed out on a losing bonus point.”

Loader believes his side were still a little off the pace following the Christmas break, but thinks the confidence gained from the narrow defeat will do them good in the long run.

“We didn’t play well against Newbury in our first game back and we probably deserved to lose, but the performance this week was phenomenal even though we may have been a little ring rusty,” he said.

“Nobody gave us a chance going into it, although we always believe in ourselves, and we will have picked up confidence from the game for sure.

“Sometimes maybe we can be too confident, like we were against Newbury, but we believe that if we get things right we can give any side in the league a game.”