MEN’S RUGBY: Towcestrians surge clear after huge success

ON THE ATTACK - action from ONs' win over Halesowen at Billing Road (Pictures: Dave Ikin)

ON THE ATTACK - action from ONs' win over Halesowen at Billing Road (Pictures: Dave Ikin)

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Towcestrians opened up a sizeable gap at the top of the South West 1 East thanks to a superb victory against closest rivals Salisbury.

Greens Norton Road was packed for the battle between the division’s top two - and the home team didn’t disappoint.

Matt Yuill opened the scoring for Tows before Salisbury found their feet, notching a couple of penalties.

Salisbury then started to turn the screw and they earned a try after some slack defending.

A penalty from James Falvey reduced the deficit to three points at the end of the first half, with Tows knowing they had work to do at 11-8 down.

And they did it, with Murray Aitchison’s superb break resulting in a score for No.10 Scott Browne.

Alex Chalcraft then fed Yuill for his second score of the game and Falvey converted brilliantly to earn a 22-11 lead.

Salisbury came back with everything they had, earning a penalty to cut the gap to eight points.

But Tows had the final word as their forwards shoved Salisbury back to secure a penalty try.

The win takes Tows eight points clear of Salisbury with 10 league games to go.

There is no let up for the league programme as Tows travel to local rivals Leighton Buzzard on Saturday.

Meanwhile, with the IIs’ game cancelled, it was down to the IIIs to continue their winning ways with a solid 27-17 victory at Dunstablians IIs.

Old Northamptonians 28 Old Halestonians 21

Old Northamptonians recovered from conceding an early try to claim a fine win in National League 3 Midlands.

Third-placed Old Halestonians went ahead through a Sam Jones score, but Alex Rose’s penalty reduced the arrears and Jake Spencer’s score put ONs ahead.

Rose landed two penalties to take his team 16-7 up before the referee was forced to reach for his pocket.

ONs had Lewis Barker sin-binned, while Hales had a prop sent off.

Chris Hooper scored Hales’ second try of the afternoon, but when ONs were restored to a full complement, Mike Bellamy burst over to secure a 21-14 half-time lead.

Both teams were to score once more after the break with Kieran O’Connor dotting down for ONs before Luke Smith went over in the corner for Hales.

The ONs IIs completed a Merit Table double with a 24-0 win against Luton IIs.

Tries came from Drew Hudson, Kieran Murdie, Ben Hammersley and Jack White, with White adding two conversions.

The ONs IIIs went down 22-7 at Peterborough IIs.

Heathens 6 Long Buckby 5

Simon Smith kicked two penalties as Heathens completed a merit table double over Long Buckby IIs in a closely-fought encounter on The Racecourse.

The first half saw Heathens putting the Buckby line under constant pressure throughout with the visitors making only sporadic forays into Heathens territory.

Despite the dominance of the Heathens pack with No.8 Pete Evans to the fore, this inability to convert pressure into points meant it was scoreless at the break.

The deadlock was broken in the second half when Buckby conceded a penalty on 55 minutes just outside their 22, which replacement hooker Smith coolly slotted.

The advantage was extended nine minutes later when another penalty was forced and Smith just managed to snea it over the bar to make it 6-0.

The tension then mounted as Buckby prop Chris Page barged over for an unconverted try on 68 minutes to make it a one-point game. Heathens then saw replacement second row Dan Macnell sent off two minutes from time, but the Northampton side held on.

On Saturday, Heathens take on Northampton Outlaws in a friendly at the Racecourse (2.15pm).

Market Harborough 39 Olney 0

Olney travelled to Leicestershire with a team depleted by injury and it was soon apparent they had a difficult job on their hands as the home side took immediate advantage of their ability to pressure the visiting pack.

Market Harborough were 20-0 up at the break and they added a further 19 points during the second period to secure a comfortable victory.

Scouts 18 Kettering 21

A disappointed Scouts came off the park thinking more that they had lost four points rather than gained one following a close encounter with local rivals Kettering.

Kettering were 10 points up early on, but Adam Frost recuded the arrears with a penalty before Scouts scored through full-back Dean Lake.

A yellow card early in the second half resulted in the visitors notching three points but Scouts drew level when George Barrett broke from half way and Lake finished.

With the game entering the final 10 minutes, Kettering were reduced to 14 men.

But the away side were to get the crucial score as a long kick from the visiting full-back drifted back in the wind to luckily bounce in field to a supporting runner who set up what turned out to be the winning try.

The hosts hadn’t given up and a breakaway resulted in flanker Luke Reeves dancing around an attempted tackle to touch down to close the score to three points.

The final five minutes were mainly played out in Scouts’ half and, with a losing bonus point secured, the final whistle was most welcome.

Scouts IIs travelled to Bletchley for an Eagle IPA Merit Table fixture and returned victorious, 26-14.

The U18s went to Huntingdon on Sunday for a National Colts Plate game and lost out 10-6 to a late try.