Gosport & Fareham coach Neil McRoberts put on a brave face on a nightmare day for him both on and off the field.
McRoberts watched as his team were beaten 31-14 at Sidcup in London one south on Saturday.
He then discovered his Mercedes had vanished from the Sydney Road sports complex, having returned to the changing room to find his bag missing.
Inside the car was his laptop, watch, phone, wallet and, most distressing of all, his wedding ring.
It was a sickening end to a day that earlier had offered little encouragement on the pitch.
But after the match, a frustrated McRoberts was determined to focus on the game rather than his own personal misfortune.
‘It’s disappointing and the guys all know that,’ said the coach.
‘They don’t need me to say it again but they let themselves down in the first half and gave themselves too big a mountain to climb against what is a very good side.
‘We lost the second half 15-14, which speaks volumes about a game we lost 31-14.
‘At the start we weren’t carrying the ball aggressively like we needed to and we simply didn’t get on the front foot at all.
‘After a few choice words in the huddle at half-time, we scored two tries and played quite well.
‘They were in our half for most of the game and we just gave ourselves too much to do.
‘The lads know you simply cannot turn up at half-time against any side in this league and give them a 16-point start, which possibly should have been more.’
The visitors were five points adrift within five minutes after two missed tackles gifted Sidcup the perfect start.
By half-time Gosport trailed 16-0 and had failed to threaten the Sidcup line once.
It got worse at the start of the second period and by the hour mark the visitors had conceded four tries to trail by 26 points.
A brief rally saw Wayne Dugan instrumental in producing two tries in four minutes.
For the first, Dugan raced almost the length of the pitch and looked like winning the chase for his kick ahead when he was cynically pulled down.
The referee awarded a penalty try but to everyone’s amazement kept his yellow card in his pocket.
Almost immediately the admirable Dugan, who was the one bright spark in a dark and gloomy afternoon for Gosport, burst through the home defence from the halfway line.
However, the defeat left McRoberts’ team still searching for a first away win in more than a year.
‘It is vital we regain our intensity at the beginning of a match which we didn’t have on Saturday,’ he said.
‘We needed to get out there and for the first 20 minutes have a go but it didn’t happen.’