MILTON Keynes took a break from Southern Counties North action on Sunday when they hosted the Boys Brigade Old Boys in the first round of the Northants Alliance Lewis Shield.
Competition rules dictate that no player to have taken part in a final or semi final of the tournament can play, so City’s line-up appeared more like a representative team from the club’s three senior sides, plus a few vets. Nevertheless they still had too much for BBOB and recorded a 24-18 victory to return to winning ways a week after losing their league game at Wootton Bassett.
The wind and rain made for tough kicking conditions - so it was just as well that City produced some pretty good passing rugby. After a missed penalty the hosts scored the opening try when the forwards combined for centre Scott Aspenall to score, with the conversion then missed.
That seemed to spark BBOB back into life and they tied the score with an unconverted try 10 minutes later before a successful penalty kick saw the visitors take the lead for the first and only time in the contest.
City hit back and in the final play of the first half they took control of the game - Rob Wilford crossing the line from a rolling maul and Richard Cowan adding the two extra points to make it 12-8 at the turnaround.
Then early in the second half City put the game beyond the visitors as they scored twice more. The first try came from Aaran McConnell in the corner before Colin Targett touched down, the latter converted by Cowan to make the score 24-8.
To their credit BBOB made a game of it and scored a quick reply to give themselves a chance. City’s back line were forced into a few big tackles to keep the visitors out after that - and they did that until five minutes from time when the Northants side scored again.
The fightback came a little too late though and City progressed to round two ahead of their fourth versus fifth league game at home to Grove.
A fourth straight defeat won’t have done much for Bletchley’s confidence in their South West 1 East relegation battle.
They fell 47-19 at Reading Abbey on Saturday and remain just two points from third bottom Oakmeadians who were also defeated. The game started well for Bletchley with Simon Pitfiel scoring and Phil Harman adding two more, but the hosts responded with a converted try and drop goal.
Reading ran in two more first half tries but two penalties and a goal by Harman kept the visitors in touch at 22-16 at the interval. The second half was a different story though and the hosts ran riot with four more scores, with Bletchley’s only reply being one Harman penalty.
Olney lost a high scoring match at Marlow as tries from James Hannah, James Padfield, John Robinson and Phil Berry weren’t enough to prevent a 53-31 defeat as they stay fourth.