A FOUR-MATCH unbeaten end to the season means Bletchley have avoided relegation by the skin of their teeth.
They made sure of survival thanks to a final day victory against already doomed Old Oakmedians, meaning it was Wallingford who went down with the south coast side and Wimborne.
Bletchley found some form just at the right time, with victories against Wallingford and Reading Abbey, plus a draw away at Swanage & Wareham, lifting them above the drop zone, and Saturday’s 28-5 win over Oakmedians made absolutely sure.
The odds of avoiding the drop were stacked against Wallingford who had to make a final day of the season visit to league champions Amersham. But if they caused an upset it might have been a completely different story for Bletchley.
And nerves were certainly jangling at Manor Fields as Oakmedians took an early lead with a try scored after a series of mistakes from the home side who were again slow out the blocks.
The errors continued and the away side should have extended their lead in the minutes to follow as Bletchley struggled with their handling despite enjoying a territorial advantage.
But Bletchley had managed to pull themselves away from danger thanks to wins against those around them in the table, and their ability eventually began to show through again as they got a grip on proceedings.
They brought the scores level when some good work from Dagan Probert saw him create space for Matt Nobes to score. George Harman stepped up to kick the conversion and suddenly the game had turned on its head.
Those mistakes continued to slow Bletchley’s progress, but they started to take control and quickly stretched their lead, Probert again the supplier for Simon Pitfield to score, with Phil Harman this time converting to give Bletchley a 14-5 half time lead.
That would have been good enough for Bletchley to survive, but the hosts were determined to finish the season on a high and quickly added another try at the start of the second half. It arrived in sensational fashion too as captain Carl Miller accelerated away and passed on to Adam Dempsey who touched down, Phil Harman on target with the conversion.
That wasn’t the end of the scoring and Pitfield weaved his way through, holding off any challenges to score a second try, with George Harman this time kicking the conversion to make it 28-5.
Their four tries also gave Bletchley a bonus point which sees them finish the season in 10th and five points off the bottom three.
Olney finished in seventh place and signed off on a high with a 33-21 home win over Buckingham, thanks to tries from Liam Lancaster, Mark Marwood – who also added four conversions – Chris Parnham, Mike Ormesher and George Stanton.
Milton Keynes were comprehensive 78-7 winners over Oxford in their last Southern Counties North outing this season, with Mads Jenson’s hat-trick the highlight.
That win has seen City move up to second in the table behind champions Swindon, but after all the remaining fixtures are completed it’s more likely they will end in third or fourth place.