BLETCHLEY put two heavy defeats behind them on Saturday when they beat fellow strugglers Wallingford at Manor Fields to keep their hopes of avoiding relegation alive.
Their 18-12 success followed losses to Buckingham and Reading, leaving Bletchley in danger of dropping into the South West One East bottom two with just three games remaining.
A victory was crucial for Bletchley, especially in the light of second from bottom Oakmeadians winning at the already doomed Wimborne. The two sides both have 36 points, but it’s the team from Bournemouth who have a game in hand. The teams lock horns on the final day of the campaign in a game that looks likely to decide who will avoid the drop, so the good news for Bletchley is that their fate is at least still in their own hands.
Phil Harman led Bletchley to their win against Wallingford, scoring all 18 points from six penalties. With the popular fly half back in the side they went into the match with confidence, but the game didn’t get off to a good start for the hosts.
Good work by captain Carl Miller, Matt Nobes and Adam Dempsey got the hosts going in the early minutes, but after Harman surprisingly failed with his first penalty attempt of the day, the visitors opened the scoring with an unconverted try.
John Kirwan and Simon Pitfield’s efforts were rewarded when another penalty went Bletchley’s way, and on this occasion Harman was on target and his team had their first points of the afternoon. But when Wallingford charged straight down the other end they scored their second try, with the conversion giving them a 12-3 lead.
Bletchley went close to scoring five points on a number of occasions, but some excellent Wallingford tackling kept them from the try line. A second Harman penalty just before half time reduced the deficit to six points, but at the break Bletchley will have been fearful of a third straight defeat.
The turning point seemed to come early in the second period. With the visitors on the attack again, George Harman produced an excellent kick to clear the danger and an infringement followed which saw Wallingford lose a man to the sin bin and brother Phil kicked successfully for a third time.
Another visiting player soon spent time in the sin bin, and Bletchley got themselves level and then in front for the first time with two further kicks from Harman as Bletchley started to smell blood.
Winger Ryan Cane thought he had scored a try for Bletchley, but despite seemingly touching down the score was disallowed. It mattered not though when Harman kicked his sixth penalty late on to seal the victory, setting his side up perfectly for their game at home to Reading Abbey on Saturday.
>> Tries from Sam Skingsley (2), Chris Parnham (2), George Stanton, James Hawken and Sam Skingsley helped Olney to a 43-17 over Abbey in their last outing.