Bletchley arguably put in their best performance of the season but couldn’t beat Stow-on-the-Wold, narrowly losing 10-7.
Stow piled the pressure on the visitors throughout the first quarter of the match and should have scored a couple of tries, but a combination of poor handling and the strength of Bletchley’s first up tackles denied the hosts any points. The breakdown was well refereed by official Tom Falkingham and both sides responded well to his consistency and willingness to let the game flow.
Stow’s fly-half put in a lovely cross field kick that was well fielded by Scott Dunbar, but he was forced over the tryline and Stow were awarded a 5m scrum. The Stow number 8 picked up the ball and managed to cross the whitewash in the 17th minute. The conversion went wide, but the hosts were 5-0 up; reward for almost 100 per cent of the possession.
The restart was messy and Stow managed to get the ball back and once again camped themselves in Bletchley’s 22 where the forwards had to work hard to prevent another score. Bletchley’s discipline held until the 26th minute when Stow had a kick pretty much in front of the posts, but the ball went wide and despite all the territory and possession, they were still only 5 points up.
Eventually the defensive line had to give way and in the 38th minute, Stow doubled their try tally with a run from another scrum 5m out. The conversion missed, but they were 10 – 0 up just before half time.
Bletchley did managed to get some time in Stow’s half before the whistle, but could not make it count and despite only venturing into Stow’s half four times in the first half and having only about 10 per cent possession, the visitors were only 10-0 down.
Bletchley started the second half the more dominant of the two sides and were rewarded for their tenacity with a great try from Kyle Gibbings after a run down the left wing. He converted his own try and took Bletchley to within three points of Stow.
The second half then became a re-run of the first with Stow having the possession and territory and Bletchley working hard to deny them the scoring opportunity. Stow really should have made more of the time they had their hands on the ball and nearly came to rue their missed chanced when with the final play of the match, the ball was kicked to touch by Stow, but the wind took the ball over the try line, but still in play. Bletchley chased the ball down and came close to snatching an unlikely score.
The match finished 10-7 to Stow, but Bletchley should be pleased with an excellent team effort. They never relinquished the pressure on Stow and this was one reason why the score at the final whistle was as close as it was.