Bletchley heaped more misery on relegation threatened Drifters with a narrow 12-10 win at Manor Fields on Saturday.
It was the visitors that scored the first points of the afternoon with a lovely try from their scrum half in the seventh minute.
Bletchley’s defence at the breakdown was being tested by a determined Drifters pack when the scrum half spotted a gap at a ruck and sped through to score. With a successful conversion, Drifters were 7 points up.
It was all Drifters in the first part of the game and Bletchley struggled to play the game outside their own half. When the hosts did kick their way into Drifters’ half from a penalty kick, Drifters managed to disrupt the set piece sufficiently to prevent any go forward ball.
It took 20 minutes before Bletchley had a scoring opportunity with a penalty kick to the posts, but the ball went wide in the strong wind.
Just as it looked as though the game would drift towards half time with no further score, Bletchley finally managed to string some phases of play together and exert pressure on Drifters. A good break by Ben Robinson after fielding a poor kick from the visitors gave Bletchley some well-deserved territory. A nice pass found Kyle Gibbings who chipped ahead and chased his own kick. The pressure forced an error from the Drifters’ full back who to that point had been having a good game. The lineout worked well for Bletchley and captain, Adam Fox drove over the whitewash to score from the resulting driving maul. The conversion was unsuccessful, but Bletchley were back in the game with 26 minutes played, albeit 7-5 down.
Bletchley were not done and scored a second try through Tom Hannell with 5 minutes of the half remaining. The score followed a break by scrum half Kev Turnbull who was brought to a halt with a high tackle. A series of penalties for the home side followed before a yellow card was shown to a Drifters player. The extra man advantage was used well by Bletchley and Hannell found the space to score and with a successful conversion, Bletchley went into the half time break in the lead 12–7.
Drifters missed a couple of early penalty kicks at goal in the second half; missing out on the opportunity to regain the lead. Despite this, the visitors worked hard to add to their points tally and Bletchley had to work equally hard to deny them a score. Eventually the pressure led to a yellow card for Bletchley and the penalty kick for the offence went through the uprights for three valuable points. With 25 minutes played, Drifters had reduced the arrears to 12–10.
A tense 15 minutes followed for the home supporters, but there was no further score from either side and the final score finished at 12 – 10 to Bletchley. It is hard to believe that Drifters are a side struggling to maintain Southern Counties League status. They gave Bletchley a hard game and have some useful players, particularly in their backline. Although the game may not have been entertaining in terms of free flowing rugby and lots of tries scored, it was still a hard fought game of rugby; one for the purists.
Bletchley take on Daventry next week for a place in the final of the Lewis Shield. With the final due to be played at Franklins Garden, both teams will be keen to take the win.