Bletchley nearly caused an upset at the weekend by beating league leaders and Bucks Shield winners Slough at Manor Fields.
The home side were 31 -24 up with 8 minutes of time added on in the second half, but they were unfortunate to end up with a 31 – 31 draw after a total of 27 minutes of extra time was added by the referee across the two halves.
With kinder weather conditions than the week before both sides started off the game playing at a fast pace, but it was Bletchley that scored first with a well taken try from Dean White after sustained pressure from the home side. Harvey Jenkins converted the try and Bletchley were 7-0 up with seven minutes on the clock.
Bletchley secured the ball from the restart and went patiently through the phases before adding a second try through Reggie Njovana. Jenkins converted and Bletchley were 14-0 up after 12 minutes of play.
Slough hit back with a try of their own in the 18th minute to narrow the score to 14-7.
Slough then had an extended period of possession and territory and should have added a second try, but Bletchley’s defence was secure and the tackling and chasing was ferocious. Slough were unable to dent a dogged defensive line from the home side.
Njovana scored his second and Bletchley’s third try in the 10th minute of added time, taking the score to 197. However, the referee still deemed that there was more time to play and both sides continued to battle it out for a total of 14 minutes of injury time.
Bletchley started the brighter of the two sides in the second half and they were rewarded for their persistence with Njovana’s hat-trick in the 6th minute; the home side taking advantage of a Slough yellow card. Jenkin’s conversion took Bletchley’s lead out to 26 – 7 and the hosts had a try bonus point in the bag.
Slough once again hit back to take the score to 26-12 after 17 minutes.
Bletchley scored immediately after the restart with some great work from the forwards which was backed up by good handling from the backs. Glen White touched down to take Bletchley into a 31-12 lead after 22 minutes.
Slough then took control of the ball and found a gap in Bletchley’s previously solid defensive line. They scored their third try to take the score to 31 – 17 with 29 minutes played.
Bletchley almost added a sixth try shortly after, but their rolling maul was pushed into touch short of the try-line after a well worked lineout from a penalty kick to touch in the 40th minute of play.
With the referee deciding there was still plenty of time to play, Slough scored two more converted tries in the 8th and 13th minute of time added on to level the scores at 31-31 and five tries apiece.
It was a thrilling contest and it shows how far Bletchley have gone in the last few weeks where a draw and try bonus point with the league leaders was considered a disappointing return for the hard work on the pitch.
With nearly half an hour of extra time played, both teams were out on their feet at the final whistle and Bletchley will be glad of the Easter weekend break before taking on Tadley on April 7.