Bletchley leave it late to see off Abingdon

Phil Harman's last minute kick secured Bletchley a narrow 18-17 win against Abingdon.

Thursday, 21st September 2017, 10:25 am
Updated Thursday, 21st September 2017, 10:32 am

After a convincing win over Littlemore in their opening match of the season, Bletchley headed to Oxfordshire on top the table, and initial exchanges demonstrated that both sides wanted to play a flowing game, but the handing errors led to a scrappy start and it was 14 minutes before Abingdon broke the deadlock to score with a quickly taken penalty kick by the fly half who also converted his own try to put his side into a 7-0 lead.

Bletchley replied very quickly after Ollie Whitmore turned over Abingdon ball at the breakdown to give the visitors some much needed possession. A deft kick over the rushing defence by Phil Harman saw John Subong gather the ball and score out wide. The tricky conversion went wide, but Bletchley had narrowed the gap to 7-5 after 19 minutes of play.

Bletchley nearly took the lead shortly after the restart, but a forward pass in the final move of an impressive build-up denied them the opportunity. Abingdon exploited the wasted chance and from the resulting scrum for the forward pass, worked their way into Bletchley’s 22 and exerted some pressure of their own for the next 10 minutes.

Bletchley’s defence had to work hard to keep the home side from scoring, but a series of penalties against the visitors meant they were on the back foot and eventually Abingdon were rewarded for their efforts with an unconverted try out wide on the right wing. With 33 minutes played, Abingdon had extended their lead to 12-5.

With two minutes of the second half played, the referee showed a yellow card to the fly-halves from both team, much to their bemusement after a scuffle of the ball. Bletchley dealt with the situation much better than Abingdon and shortly after scored their second try of the match. A high box kick from Ben Robinson was allowed to bounce twice, catching out the Abingdon defence before John Subong popped up to gather the ball and run in under the posts to score. Kelvin Rudkin converted the try to take the scores level at 12-12 with five minutes played.

Five minutes later, Abingdon took the lead again with their third try of the afternoon. With the conversion going wide, the score moved to 17 – 12 and the tension could be felt around the ground as the match was clearly going to be a close encounter.

Harman reduced the arrears to 17-15 in the 16th minute with a penalty kick after Abingdon’s discipline gave way at the breakdown.

The last quarter of the match was played at a frenetic pace as both sides tried to pull away. The referee awarded a considerable number of penalties to both sides at the set piece and the cohesion of the teams slipped away.

Abingdon were deemed to have been held up as they thought they had scored in the 35th minute and Bletchley considered themselves let off the hook.

It was thanks to the efforts of the forward pack that put in a huge stint at the coal face that Harman had a chance to give Bletchley the win with a penalty kick at goal with the last play of the match.

The kick from 30m out went through the posts and Bletchley had secured their second win of the league campaign against a good Abingdon outfit that gave the visitors a stern test.