New home sweet home for city rugby

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MILTON Keynes RUFC have now taken over the running of their new purpose built home ground at Emerson Valley, and were quick to get their feet under the table at the weekend.

City’s 2nds and 3rds played games there on Saturday before the juniors had their chance to take to the field the next day. The official opening of their new £2.5 million facility is next Saturday when the first team play host to Beaconsfield in their final home match of the league season. Club president John Silk said: “It’s quite incredible. We’re all delighted to be here and it feels like home already.”

Mr Silk is pictured with David Wilkinson (Beejack Builders), Mark McKinley (MK Council), Kevin Edgington (D5 Architects) and club representatives John Theobald and Chris Collins at their key hand over last week.

Timely boost for Bletchley

Bletchley are now looking good to retain their South West 1 East League status after recording a 28-22 win over Reading Abbey on the same afternoon that relegation rivals Oakmeadians were beaten.

They stay third from bottom of the pile and are now just two points adrift of Reading and Wallingford with only two games left to play, but they needed a dramatic comeback to see off Abbey in what was a pivotal moment in their season.

They battled their way to victory in the end, but the game started off very poorly for Bletchley as Abbey scored a converted try inside the first minute at Manor Fields. And when Phil Harman was off target with a penalty attempt a couple of minutes later, they started to think it wasn’t their day again.

However, with a vocal home support behind them Bletchley were soon back on level terms when Dagen Probert did well to collect a clearance kick, made a 25-yard break and set Matt Nobes away to score under the posts, giving fly half Harman an easy conversion.

Abbey were next on the scoreboard when Bletchley were caught offside at a ruck and their resulting penalty gave them a lineout just five yards from the line - Bletchley powerless to prevent a try being scored out wide. They failed to add the bonus points though and so the hosts stayed in touch at 12-7 after a frantic opening quarter of an hour.

It got worse for Bletchley though as Abbey were soon in for another try - a penalty at a ruck leading to a lineout that saw the visitors touch down, and this time the conversion attempt was successful and their lead was 19-7.

However, just before half time came the most important try of the game as Bletchley’s Simon Pitfield scored after superb work from Brett Staniford and John Kirwan, with Harman kicking to make it 14-19 at the interval.

It took Bletchley just five minutes of the second half to take the lead for the first time with Ryan Cane the man to finish off a good team move, Harman again slotting home the conversion.

Abbey were to rue a missed penalty at the restart as moments later Kevin Turbull put up a perfectly timed kick and Nobes chased down to collect and score a fourth Bletchley try. Harman’s conversion was good and the hosts had a comfortable 28-19 lead.

The visitors converted a penalty, but it was tries they needed and they were not going to get them thanks to superb tacking by both Turnbull and Pitfield as their side held on to seal five crucial league points. Next week Bletchley go to Swanage before closing their season at home to Oakmedians on April 16.

Olney will be left counting down the weeks until the end of their campaign as they fell to another defeat - this time at home to Marlow. Liam Lancaster got them off to a strong start, but they fell to a 17-23 loss despite further tries from Mark Marwood and James Hannah as they also have two fixtures remaining, starting with a trip to Witney.