Bletchley brave the cold but miss out on securing safety

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Thanks to the tireless efforts of the Newbury ground staff, the game was one of the few in the country to go ahead this Saturday, but with hindsight, Bletchley probably would have preferred it called off as they lost 10-6.

Newbury started the day one place below Bletchley, while the visitors knew a win would probably be enough to keep them safe from relegation this season.

The conditions were heavy underfoot, the first half was dominated by the kickers. Phil Harman put Bletchley 3-0 up after 11 minutes, before Newbury fly-half Jack Muggridge pulled the home side level seven minutes later, benefiting from some Bletchley handling errors.

Bletchley could and should have scored through a promising back’s move after the forwards had put the travelling side in a scoring position in Newbury’s 22. However, Newbury’s defence held firm.

At the half-hour mark, Kev Turnbull also came close, in fact the ball was only a few inches short of the whitewash when he touched down.

Harman’s boot added three more points to the pile, giving the visitors a 6-3 lead going in at the break - a small reward for their dominance in the first half.

But the second half was a different story. Having lost Lucci Nancy in the first half to a hand injury, Harman followed him off shortly after the restart, quickly followed by hooker Josh Peters. This put the visitors on the back foot as they tried to regain some momentum.

With 16 minutes of the second half played, Newbury were awarded a scrum in Bletchley’s 22. After being put under so much pressure at the set piece throughout the match, Newbury managed to secure good ball through their number 8 who ran in to score under the posts. The conversion from Muggridge took Newbury into a 10-6 lead.

Determined to get back into the game, Bletchley battled hard, winning a succession of penalties. But without a line-out thrower, the struggled at the set-piece. A kick nine minutes from time also fell short of the posts.

Newbury played the remaining 10 minutes a man down courtesy of a yellow card, but it wasn’t enough to help Bletchley.