HALSTEAD Templars are not ready to concede defeat in the race for title glory.

The club’s quest to finish top of Shepherd Neame Essex Merit Table division seven suffered a blow last weekend, when they lost 27-7 to leaders Braintree.

It means they stay second – seven points behind the pace-setters, but with two games in hand.

And coach Barry Poulter says there is no chance of his side waving the white flag, despite Saturday’s setback.

“We’re still in there fighting,” he told the Gazette.

“They may slip-up and we need to be in a position to capitalise, while the games in hand are obviously massive.

“We certainly won’t give up and we’ll keep battling until the end, until it’s mathematically impossible.

“We know we can improve, but I’ve spoken to a few of the players this week and they’re still upbeat.

“Overall, our performances have been very good and one poor game doesn’t make us a bad team.

“We’ve improved game by game and week by week.

“We’ve made massive progress and that’s there for all to see.

“We’re holding our own against established teams and the club is undoubtedly moving forward.”