MILTON Keynes managed to keep their end of the Southern Counties North League promotion bargain on Saturday, but now need rivals Windsor to slip up.
City thrashed Wootton Bassett 55-7 at Emerson Valley to stretch their incredible winning run to 10 league games and keep hold of that all important second place in the table.
However, with Windsor also securing a bonus point victory against Alchester, the Berkshire side remain favourites to clinch the play-off spot. They are five points off City, but fulfil their game in hand – away to league whipping boys Marlborough on Saturday – knowing that another victory will see them go second courtesy of their superior points difference.
Then it will be a straight forward final day shootout on April 14 with City needing to beat Alchester at home while hoping that Windsor fail to take maximum points off champions Beaconsfield.
Whatever happens, City have certainly done themselves proud in recent months, and Saturday’s thumping of poor Wootton Basset was their biggest win of the season against anyone other than Marlborough, who failed to raise a side for their trip to Grove on Saturday and have only picked up two points this campaign.
Wootton Basset were put to the sword almost immediately as City ran home six first half tries – winger Dan Rolfe showing good pace to power over in the corner for the home side’s first score after barely a couple of minutes. Phil Powell converted the first of his 20 points on the day.
City were back on the rampage seven minutes later when skipper Richard Hill went over for the first of his two first half tries. Although Powell was off target with the conversion, he soon made up for it by slotting home after Scott Aspinall scored a fantastic individual try, and City’s third.
Rolfe then ran home from the best part of 35 metres to score the fourth and earn the bonus point, with Powell converting again to make it 26-0 at the break.
With 15 minutes of the half remaining there was more bad news for the visitors when their skipper was given a 10 minute rest in the sin bin for going over the top in a ruck. City took a quick tap penalty with their forwards setting up a rolling maul for prop Ashley Hill to score.
Powell missed the conversion but City were straight back on the attack to score their sixth first half try through Hill before Powell made amends to slot home and give the hosts a 38-0 lead at the interval.
Wootton Bassett made a better game of it in the second half – aided by an early yellow card for Dan Walker for entering a maul from the side – and scored what proved a mere consolation try while the home side were shorthanded.
City’s scoring rate slowed and it took 20 minutes of the second period for them to get their next points on the board, with Powell crossing the line before converting his own try.
And his side finished on a high thanks to another Powell score and a second try for Aspinall to make it 55-7 to complete a thoroughly comfortable day’s work.
Now City’s attentions turns to Windsor and their trip to Marlborough on Saturday. The league’s bottom side are very unlikely to do the men from Emerson Valley any favours, meaning the battle to secure the play-off place will go down to the final day.
>> Bletchley Ladies earned their first win of the season by beating Stockwood Park 29-0 and are looking for new recruits to join the team. Contact Jess McGinn on 07734 316943 for more details.
Bletchley’s men went down to a 24-13 home defeat to Reading in the South West 1 East League as Olney lost 48-15 at home to High Wycombe. Both sides now have a weekend break for Easter before returning to action for their last two fixtures of the season.