ONs extended their unbeaten run to 11 games with a 34-8 victory over Newark at Kelham Road on Saturday.
The ONs led 8-3 at half time after playing against the wind but two tries in the third quarter and a further two late in the game secured a bonus-point win.
Newark took an early lead with a penalty from Dan Mackie and minutes later the ONs lost Tom Harris to injury,Matt Love coming on at centre and Jake Spencer moving to the wing.
Good approach work from the visitors backs with Spencer, Alex Crofts, Dan Napier and Rory Seymour combining well forced Newark to infringe and after the kick was put into touch, the forwards took control.
The lineout was secured and driven on and although the ball was ruled held up over the line, the ONs shunted the opposition backwards at the resulting scrum.
Sam Howes picked up and dived over and the pack was again instrumental in relieving pressure on their line as they took a strike against the head after an over ambitious throw-in was knocked on under the posts, Tom Goodman completing the clearance.
Mackie missed a penalty for the home side before the visitors moved play up field with a series of drives and offloads. Goodman landed the kick after Newark were penalised and the ONs led 8-3 at half-time.
A Lewis Barker break was continued by Howes and although the ONs then lost their own ball at a lineout close to the opposition line, they managed to turn over a Newark throw in shortly after, (a rare occurrence on the day with Rory Williams outstanding for the home side) and Howes scored his second following a patient build-up.
The ONs pack won another scrum penalty and this was quickly taken giving Howes a chance to make initial inroads and his pass found Love in support for try number three.Goodman converted both scores to extend the ONs’ lead to 22-3.
Newark came back and had their best period of the game, showing textbook ball retention as they moved play from side to side and despite the ONs not missing a tackle they were unable to ease the pressure.
Eventually, having decided that they could not go through or round the stubborn defence, a clever cross kick was collected by Will Britten and he dived over to register a well deserved Newark try.
With time running out the ONs frantically sought the bonus point score and it came with just five minutes remaining.
A series of drives was finally finished by Ben Ibrahim, his first senior try.
Then with the full time whistle imminent, a poor Newark clearance kick was collected by Seymour who fed Jordan Finlayson-Green and after he had made ground, Crofts received the final pass and powered over. Goodman added the two points to take the score to 34-8.
The ONs IIs lost 42-19 at Newark IIs, while Scott Oldham scored a hat-trick of tries as the IIIs beat Bletchley IIs 30-17.
Biggleswade 12 Old Scouts 13
Adam Frost scored a late try and converted it himself to lead Midlands 2 East (South) leaders Old Scouts to another victory.
Biggleswade were on a good run of form and were fired up to challenge Scouts’ credentials as the division’s top dogs.
However it was Scouts who made all the running in the first quarter but the home side defended the narrow pitch well to keep the visitors down to only an Adam Frost penalty for their efforts.
The second quarter was equally contested although neither side looked like adding to the scoreboard.
Although Biggleswade did miss a penalty close to half time.
The hosts took the lead with an unconverted try six minutes after the break when their strong running centre crashed through several tackles to score wide out. The conversion attempt failed.
Scouts attacks were again being thwarted by the home defence and they eventually obtained a penalty which was well struck by Frost but it hit the upright and bounced back into the field of play.
A simpler penalty soon followed and Frost duly slotted it to put Scouts into the lead with eight minutes remaining.
Biggleswade were throwing everything at Scouts and eventually found a hole to score under the sticks for a converted try with barely a minute left on the clock.
Scouts knew it was the last roll of the dice and chased the restart which firstly saw the ball missed by a home side defender, and when it was eventually collected the recipient’s attempted clearance to finish the match was charged down by Frost.
The ball rolled into the in goal area and Frost was on hand to dot down.
He then composed himself enough to kick the winning points.
Swindon 5 Towcestrians 22
Towcestrians travelled to Swindon on Saturday looking to turn it up a gear after narrow wins in the last couple of weeks.
Tows certainly started the brighter, latching on to a mistake at the lineout which saw the ball overthrown, the visitors then moved the ball wide for full back James Falvey to score the first points of the afternoon.
The surge continued as Kieran Frost broke line and lead an attack on the Swindon line. After a series of scrums and line outs the pressure told, scrum-half Ronnie Speakman found a gap to cross the line.
Missing a simple penalty seemed the fire up the home as they slowly but surely began to build up some possession, leading to a cross field kick which bounced kindly for their winger to score. Swindon’s conversion however was missed.
After the break Tows found themselves with the wind behind them and it seemed only a matter of time before they increased their lead, Matt Yuill did so to score Tows’ third unconverted try.
Swindon’s woes continued as their centre was yellow carded, Tom George’s blind side break from a scrum lead to another period of pressure on the home team’s line, only to be thwarted by a penalty decision.
David Devlin-Jones received a yellow card late on into the half allowing Swindon to play their brightest ten minutes of the game, only to be met by Tows’ impenetrable defence.
The bonus point try was scored by Marc Yeates for a strangely comfortable victory.
Tows’ second string won 38-14 at Bicester IIs, while the IIIs suffered their first league defeat of the season, going down 36-5 to St Neots.
Towcestrians’ colts side lost 29-0 at Bedford Athletic colts.
Sharnbrook & Colworth 53 Heathens 0
Heathens fell foul to Sharnbrook’s inability to field a front row in this Youngs Bitter merit table fixture.
With the hosts’ youthful back line having full freedom of a large pitch it was hard to counter their strong running despite frequent heroics from Heathens centres Joe Yeo and Will Huggins and an aggressive man of the match performance from full-back Ash Brown.
While contested scrums would not have changed the outcome, the margin would have been considerably less as the lighter home pack would have had to expend some of their energy in contesting for the ball in an area that is unique to rugby union.
This Saturday Heathens are in Youngs Bitter merit table action yet again when BBOB IIIs visit the Racecourse (2.15pm).
South West 1 East: Devizes 9 Witney 28, Grove 24 Chippenham 7, Leighton Buzzard 38 Buckingham 7, Maidenhead 44 Bletchley 12, Newbury Blues 12 Windsor 16, Reading 11 Trowbridge 10, Swindon 5 Towcestrians 22
Midlands 1 East: Derby 12 Syston 20, Huntingdon & District 15 Bugbrooke 25, Ilkeston 27 Belgrave 21, Kettering 20 Bedford Athletic 26, Mansfield 34 Spalding 7, Market Rasen & Louth 23 Paviors 5, Newark 8 Old Northamptonians 34
Midlands 2 East (South): Biggleswade 12 Northampton Old Scouts 13, Dunstablians 8 Market Harborough 3, Leicester Forest 10 Lutterworth 5, Peterborough 35 Oakham 22, Stewarts & Lloyds 5 Oadby Wyggestonians 19, Wellingborough 22 Olney 11
Midlands 3 East (South): Daventry 10 Oundle 11, Long Buckby 49 Northampton Mens Own 7, Northampton 10 Northampton Casuals 10, St Ives (Midlands) 17 Rugby St Andrews 3, Stockwood Park 10 Queens 16, Vipers 28 Rushden & Higham 19