ROYAL Wootton Bassett team manager George Loughlin reckoned his side were deserving winners as they picked up a 26-6 victory at home to Oxford Harlequins in South West One East on Saturday.

The visitors were landed the first blow, as they converted an early penalty in the 10th minute to take the lead.

However, Bassett were able to respond through Tom Fieldsend, whose well-struck penalty registered Bassett’s first points.

The defences of both sides then got on top, with neither side able to craft any real chances, as Harlequins struck a penalty off the crossbar before Fieldsend evened things up at 6-6 with another penalty to make it 6-6 at the break.

The second half was far more productive for the hosts as debutant Robert Cooper’s long-range penalty handed Bassett the ascendancy.

Chris Paterson then crossed the line, as Fieldsend continued his impressive afternoon with the conversion and another penalty before converting a debut try for centre Sean Marsden.

“It was definitely a win we deserved on Saturday, although it was very even in the first half,” he said.

“In the second half their forwards tired a little bit and we just looked a little bit more effective, so I think the result was just about right.

“They were a decent side and they bit us earlier in the season so it is a good way to start the year.

“We got a bit of a trouncing at Old Patesians last time out, so it was good to get that one out of the way, draw a line under it and move on.

“We definitely aren’t getting carried away because we know that a few injuries can change everything.

“It’s difficult to say, even though they beat us last time, I wouldn’t want to say that showed progression, we were just the better side on the day.”

The Bassett manager was quick to heap the praise on Fieldsend, who has enjoyed a superb season for Basset so far this campaign.

And Loughlin believes the Warwick University student has plenty more to come.

“Tom is only just 20 now, and he made his debut for the first team last year and he has really come on,” he added.

“He is really beginning to mature and be a decent player.

“His whole family are interested, they come as a group and he’s been associated with the club for quite a few years now.

“Why would you want to play else where if you don’t have to?”

Elsewhere in the South West One East division, Swindon weren’t quite as fortunate as they slipped to a 17-14 defeat at the hands of top-half Gloucestershire outfit Old Centralians at home.

Swindon sit in 11th place in the table, while Bassett occupy eighth.