Rugby round-up: City remain in touch but are left frustrated

editorial image

MILTON Keynes kept up the pressure on the Southern Counties North leaders by comfortably seeing off Tadley 19-6, but unfortunately failed to cut the gap after missing out on an all important bonus point.

Saturday’s win at Emerson Valley was City’s 11th from their 14 games, but table toppers Beaconsfield continue to lead the way after they thrashed Wootton Bassett, with Windsor and Grove separating City and the south Bucks side in a very tight top four.

Despite winning their match, City were left disappointed at not earning the bonus point for scoring four tries, with the gap to Beaconsfield now 10 points.

The cold and wet conditions meant lots of inevitable errors when City entertained struggling Tadley – a side they had beaten away from home when the two sides met for the first time back in November.

City also scored the opening try of the game in the very first minute, with just a foot on the touch line by Gavin Whitehead stopping an early score.

Instead it was the visitors who scored the first six points of the contest via two penalties – Tadley able to take advantage of torrential rain and wind at their backs during the opening half an hour.

However, after 25 minutes of defending from City, Rob Lasbrey made a good break on the half-way line and passed the ball to Phil Powell on the 22 who went through and over to score under the posts. Powell duly converted to put City one point up by half time.

The weather gradually improved in the second period but cold hands meant that errors continued as the hosts had plenty of chances to score again. Eventually they did when Richard Hill crashed over in the corner, and although the conversion was missed, City were now six points up and looking on course for victory.

Further opportunities to increase the lead came, but final passes went astray too often, allowing Tadley the occasional run into City territory.

The final score of the game came from a scrum on Tadley’s five metre line when the ball was shipped down the line for Dan Rolfe to score close to the corner. Powell’s conversion was good to take City’s tally to 19, but with only three scores they missed out on a bonus point.

Next up for City is a trip to Aylesbury on Saturday where they will be looking for their sixth straight win, while also hoping that results elsewhere go their way.

South West One East basement boys Olney were beaten 32-6 by Coney Hill in their last outing – two first half penalties all the hosts had to show for a spirited display against the side sitting fourth in the table.

Bletchley have got back on terms with their win-defeat record this season thanks to their 10-3 beating of lowly Swanage and Wareham.

It’s now nine wins and nine defeats for the Manor Fields side this season after a stubborn display from Swanage who sit third from bottom of the table.

Adam Dempsey ploughed over for the first try, but in very windy conditions Phil Harman’s conversion attempt missed the target and the score remained 5-0 going into the break.

Dagan Probert bagged Bletchley’s next try early in the second half – scoring after some good work from Harman and Dave Coleman – and it stayed one-way traffic for the majority as Bletchley’s forwards continuously knocked on the door.

However, they had to settle for just two tries, and in fact it was the visitors who scored the final points with a penalty conversion to earn a losing bonus point.