MEN’S RUGBY: Wilkinson grabs the winner at Southend

Action from Old Northamptonians' win over Syston (Pictures; Dave Ikin)
Action from Old Northamptonians' win over Syston (Pictures; Dave Ikin)

Liam Wilkinson was the Towcestrians hero as his late try earned a 15-14 victory at Southend Swifts in the London & SE Premier.

Tows went ahead early on as veteran second rower Chris Kirby ran a great angle to break through, with Ben Roe adding the extras.

Both sides were then hit by a sin-binning and Southend scored two quick tries to take a 14-7 lead.

Roe kicked a penalty early in the second period to reduce the deficit and after Tows worked their way downfield, thanks to a couple of penalties, Wilkinson ran through to score.

Roe’s conversion from the touchline bounced off the crossbar, but Tows held out for the final couple of minutes, keeping possession until time elapsed.

Meanwhile, Towcester Roses, Tows’ ladies team, beat league rivals Royston 29-0 to strengthen their position in the push for promotion in their first season of league rugby.

Old Northamptonians 31 Syston 17

Old Northamptonians secured a fine win against the Midlands 1 (East) leaders.

Will Salt started the scoring for ONs, going over for his first try in senior colours, and Joe Patrick converted.

Minutes later Syston drew level and they continued to put the pressure on.

But ONs stood talland Chris Reid picked up to power over and put the home side ahead at the break.

Scrum-half Harry Sanderson scored for ONs just after half-time, with Patrick’s conversion making it 19-7.

ONs continued to pour forward and Rhys Evans dotted down to secure the bonus point.

Syston responded with a try of their own and Reid was sin-binned before the away side scored again.

It made for a slightly nervous finale, but ONs had the final say as Sanderson squeezed through a gap to score his second and seal a superb success.

Casuals 22 Biggleswade 0

TWO tries apiece from winger Jannie Van Der Venter and loosehead prop Lee Lawrence saw the Casuals record a bonus-point victory against a strong Biggleswade side.

Following a period of early pressure, the home team took the lead when Van Der Venter crossed in the right corner.

Casuals extended the lead further when Lawrence trundled over.

Lawrence added his second and 10th for the season on the half hour from a rolling maul, with Gary Hirst’s conversion extending the Casuals lead to 17-0.

Biggleswade upped their game in the third quarter with only strong Casuals defence preventing the visitors scoring.

The home side reasserted their authority in the final quarter but only secured the bonus-point victory in the 78th minute when Van Der Venter finished a fine move.

Old Scouts 0 Bedford Athletic 48

IT didn’t help Scouts’ cause when they conceded two tries in the first five minutes of this Midlands 1 (East) encounter.

Scouts tried hard after this early onslaught but missed tackles against a free-running Bedford Athletic outfit, who scored three further tries before the break.

The second half went scoreless until the final 10 minutes, when Scouts tired to allow Athletic to score three late tries.

Meanwhile, Scouts IIs enjoyed a much better afternoon, beating Bedford Athletic IIIs 52-0.

Heathens 19 Olney IIs 20

HEATHENS were just edged out by Olney IIs in the Directors League merit table fixture at The Racecourse.

Olney scored three times in the first half, earning a 15-0 advantage at the break.

But Heathens fought back, with Connor O’Brien registering twice and Craig Wilson adding both conversions to cut the gap to a point.

Olney scored next, but O’Brien completed his hat-trick only for the conversion not to be made as Heathens were just edged out.