HEAD Coach Jamie Clarke felt his Braintree Rugby Club side were the architects of their own demise as they were unable to make a winning start to 2019 at Canvey Island.

Having won all of their final four London League division three Essex games of 2018, the Black and Ambers paid the price for some carelessness at Canvey as the hosts edged a close game in blustery conditions to win 10-8.

It was the first game back after a three-week break in action for the festive period and Clarke is looking for his players to bounce back now to make sure they stay in the promotion race.

He said: “We never really got going and were careless in possession.

“The first game after the break is never easy and we also had to make a few changes on the morning of the match which didn't help.

“But to be honest we didn't perform well and probably got what we deserved.

"We need to re-group quickly and move on to the next game this Saturday and a better performance.”

A rueful Braintree chairman of selectors David Gilder added: “It certainly wasn’t a game for the rugby purist.

“We struggled to win enough possession and when we did have the ball we kicked it away too much.

“We were a bit naive tactically and probably got what we deserved.

"Hopefully we can perform better in our next game.”

Braintree, who dropped a place to fifth in the table after their defeat, will look to get back to winning ways on Saturday when Old Cooperians are the visitors to Robbs Wood.