Old Northamptonians were involved in a dramatic finale for the second time in as many matches as they claimed their first win of the season.
Having been edged out by Peterborough Lions on the previous weekend, when a late missed kick cost them dear, ONs secured a valiant 22-19 victory against Sandbach, who failed to land a last-gasp penalty.
Sandbach scored a try early on, but ONs responded with a James Grayson penalty.
It was to be the first of five penalties Grayson notched and he also added the extras to Rory Seymour’s try to end the day with a 100 per cent success rate from the tee.
ONs had been 19-9 down, but Seymour’s score and the assured boot of Grayson got the job done.
Witney 27 Towcestrians 33
Towcestrians moved back to the top of South West 1 thanks to a gritty win at Witney.
Matt Yuill got Tows up and running with two tries, but Witney’s No.10 notched two penalties to leave the gap at four.
Tows moved further ahead after Alex Chalcraft crossed but Scott Browne then found himself in the bin.
Nevertheless, 14-man Tows extended their lead, with veteran centre Pepe Nanci scoring the bonus-point try.
It was converted by Ben Young, but Witney cut the gap thanks to a couple of tries.
A couple of cool penalties from Young provided some welcome breathing space before Witney scored late on.
This week, Tows take on old rivals Northampton Men’s Own in the Lewis Shield.
Meanwhile, Tows IIs came back from high-flying Hinckley with a well-earned 21-21- draw while the Tows IIIs proved too strong for Bletchley seconds, winning 57-0.
Tows Colts lost out to Northampton Old Scouts 31 -14.
Mens Own IIs 31 Heathens 32
Heathens edged out Mens Own IIs in an 11-try Youngs Bitter merit table thriller.
Ash Brown opened the Heathens account, but Men’s Own hit back.
Wayne Stride restored the Heathens lead before Pete Evans stretched the gap.
Own scored before half-time to reduce the deficit to three points and they took the lead just after the restart.
The hosts soon extended their lead to nine points, but the Heathens showed their spirit to score through Marty Campbell.
Own again hit back with a converted try before centre Mark Allison breathed life into the Heathens bid.
Brown converted to cut the gap to four and Campbell won it with a score five minutes from time.
This Saturday, Heathens take a break from merit table action when they travel south for their first fixture against Berkhamsted (3pm kick-off).
Scouts 49 Newark 10
Scouts cruised to victory as they pulled away following an evenly-contested first quarter.
Adam Frost notched two penalties for Scouts, who went on to score three first-half tries, through Jordan Judd, George Barrett and Frost.
Luke Reeves set up Iain Simmons for a bonus-point try before efforts from Tom Powell and Liam Hancock finished things with a flourish.
Meanwhile, Scouts IIs lost 24-19 away to Peterborough, while the IIIs beat battling Kempston 26-7.
Scouts U18s won 31-14 at home to Towcestrians.
Olney 12 Oadby Wyggestonians 21
The arrival of two Kiwis couldn’t save Olney from defeat to Oadby.
Lock Keegan Anderson and centre Kayne Middleton both got their first taste of the action, but despite tries from Will Durden and Rich Cowan, Olney were beaten.