ROYAL Wotton Bassett coach Alan Lowe reflected on an emotional 25-18 win for his side after several members of his squad learned one of their best friends had died on the morning of last weekend’s game away at Sherborne.

Friend of the club Joel Sycamore passed away on Saturday morning following a car accident a couple of days before.

Known to several members of the first-team squad as well as Lowe himself, the 20-year-old used to go and watch friends play at Ballards Ash, so the loss was felt throughout the changing room.

Bassett battled both bereavement and a tough home team to claim their 15th win of the season in South West One East, putting them second in the table behind Old Centralians.

Reflecting on an extremely emotional day for the club, Bassett’s head coach revealed his pride surrounding the performances of those young men who had lost someone so close to them only hours before.

Lowe said: “We were not in a great place in the build up to the game because a few of our squad found out one of their best friends had died in a car accident literally hours before.

“And Joel was down the club all the time because his mates played. So that made it a really emotional day for the side.

“But all credit to the boys because they all stuck together and put a performance in.

“We said to everyone afterwards that for those of them that have had a tough weekend, they’ve really done themselves justice because the performance was very gritty, but everyone did themselves proud at the weekend.”

Bassett’s win put them within six points of league leaders Old Centralians – who they play on the final day of the season.

Lowe said he is confident of reeling their title rivals in before then though as long as recent levels of performance are maintained.

He said: “We had a very good result against Old Cents in the first game of the season, but they’ve picked up since and had some really strong results.

“We’ve put two performances in that didn’t do ourselves justice and low and behold, we’ve lost to two sides that we felt we probably shouldn’t have done.

“We know you’ve got to be on it every week in this league – side from the bottom two or three sides, there are upsets on the cards every week.

“We’ve got to stay focused on what we’re doing, and if we keep our current attitude ticking along, we’ll be in a good place at the end of the year.”