Rugby: Bletchley pay the penalty in another away defeat

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BLETCHLEY failed in their attempt to win their first away game of the season when they lost a scrappy affair 37-30 at Windsor on Saturday.

The two teams went into the game with identical win-lose records in the South West 1 East league, and for the most part there was little to choose from between them.

And despite winning the game, Windsor remain two places below Bletchley in 10th place, thanks to the Manor Fields side’s impressive ability to pick up losing bonus points this term.

Phil Harman got the visitors off to an encouraging start with a penalty inside a couple of minutes, before Windsor replied with three points of their own – setting the scene for a tight affair in Berkshire.

Another Harman kick put Bletchley back in front after seven minutes, but once again the hosts responded in kind to level the scores as the two sides continued to feel each other out.

With 20 minutes on the clock Windsor converted their third penalty to make the score 9-6, and soon added a fourth to double their advantage before Harman surprisingly missed his next opportunity.

Then came the breakthrough as shortly afterwards Windsor were reduced to 14 men when one of their number chose to transgress with his head in clear view of the referee. And from the quick tap penalty, George Coote went over the first try of the afternoon and Harman added the extras to put the visitors in front at 13-12.

Windsor responded well with a try of their own to retake the lead on 40 minutes, but Bletchley were gathering pace and quickly hit back thanks to good work from Coote and Dagan Probert as they set Kev Turnbull free to touch down and Harman converted for 20-17.

However, it was perhaps fitting that the first half ended with a converted penalty, and the hosts got it to tie the game at 20 apiece at the break.

Windsor’s confidence grew in the second half and, after the first 18 minutes passed without much incident, they moved back in front with a second converted try.

Harman was on target again to cut the deficit with a penalty, but Windsor made good use of the ball when they had it and crossed the line for a third time, taking advantage of a gap in Bletchley’s defensive line to score and extend their lead to 32-23.

But Bletchley weren’t done yet – Chris Coussell finding Simon Pitfield from a lineout, and the flanker made good territory before passing to Probert who had to use every inch of his 6ft 2in frame to cross the whitewash. Harman converted and the visitors were back to within two points of Windsor.

That was as good as it got though as the hosts made the points safe with another try in the closing stages, consigning Bletchley to a fifth away defeat of the season. It was the first time in five matches that they had failed to score at least four tries to earn a losing bonus point.

After a break from action this weekend, Bletchley return to Manor Fields for the visit of struggling Newbury Blues on November 17.