1XV bag five on the trot!
By The Real Hummers
Maidenhead (12) 19 Bracknell (6) 20
Having secured their sixth consecutive season of level five rugby next season with the win against forth placed Ivybridge last Saturday, the task would not get any easier for the 1XV. A short 9 mile trip to third placed Maidenhead meant that local bragging rights were up for grabs for the second time this season. Last December the fixture at Lily Hill, between the sides had been a close affair which Bracknell had narrowly edged out Maidenhead 15-11. Perhaps even more importantly for Maidenhead they still had outside chance of finishing the season as runner up and a chance of promotion via the play-offs.
The long season had had an affect on Bracknell, Head of Rugby Daniel ap Dafydd forced to reshuffle his pack, Jonny Mirza, Nick Ovens staring in the front row while Tom Mew was making first 1XV start in the back row.
Prior to kick the team observed a minutes in memory of Rene Dance. Maidenhead kicked off with Bracknell playing towards the athletic club in the first half.
Bracknell dominated the early phases forcing Maidenhead into conceding a number of penalties. As a result Maidenhead were reduced in numbers when number 8 Dave Cole was shown a yellow card for not retreating, with twelve minutes gone on the clock.
Three minutes later Bracknell opened the scoring from the boot of Vic Hardwick after Maidenhead had been penalised for a no arms tackle.
Back to full strength Maidenhead would score the first try of the match with one of their few ventures deep into the Bracknell half. Off a scrum on the Bracknell five meter line a number eight pick up and pass saw winger Scott Prince score in the corner with 26 minutes gone. Conversion by centre Charlie Broughton was good.
Maidenhead were further reduced in numbers when prop Elio Mandozzi was sent to the sin bin for a high tackle. From the next play Vic Hardwicke reduced the Maidenhead lead with a penalty.
With only moments of the half remaining, a catch and drive from a line-out saw Maidenhead score their second try of the afternoon, second row Sam Churchyard coming up with the touchdown. This time the conversion was missed.
Half time: Maidenhead 12 Bracknell 6
Bracknell re-took the lead with just over ten minutes of the second half gone. Some smart hands from Bracknell sent Vic Hardwick scampering his way to the Maidenhead try line to dot down. Converting his own try the conversion from Vic Hardwicke was successful.
The sides were evenly matched, neither side able to inflict a decisive score on the other. That was until, with just over six minutes remaining, off an attacking line-out Maidenhead number 8 Dave Cole was able to find space to score. Charlie Broughton converted to give Maidenhead a six point lead.
From the restart Maidenhead attacked again and were rewarded a penalty in front of the Bracknell posts. Maidenhead elected to go for the corner rather that posts. From the line out Bracknell were awarded a scrum, now deep in to injury time and their own half Bracknell would need to go the length of the pitch to score if they were going to win the game. Off the scrum some effective recycling saw Bracknell play both sides of the pitch until they found space on the wing to break up field. Breaking off a ruck Vic Hardwicke flipped the ball to Simon Bayliss to score. Showing no nerves Vic Hardwick kicked the conversion to give Bracknell the victory as well as inflicting only a second home defeat on Maidenhead all season.
Full time: Maidenhead 19 Bracknell 20 (Points: Maidenhead 1 Bracknell 4)
The result sees Bracknell jump to tenth place in the league. Elsewhere the Stags completed their BBO1 campaign with a win at Windsor a result that sees them finish as runners up, sandwiched between deserved winners Chinnor and third placed Maidenhead. The 3XV won away at Bicester and remain top of the BBO2 with one remaining home game next week. A win will see them retain their BBO2 crown.
Those that visited the website on Monday may have spotted the short article regarding releasing a flock of sheep at Lily Hill to improve the pitches – if you had not guessed this was an April fool! We hope you enjoyed this bit of fun.
The 1XV finish the season a next Saturday (13th April) with a home game vs Newton Abbot (KO 3pm). Prior to kick off there is a pre-match lunch, £20 per head will get you three courses plus wine. To book lunch or for more details please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or book on line at: https://www.bracknellrugbyclubshop.com/shop/tickets/pre-match-lunches/pre-match-lunch-vs-newton-abbot/
A reminder that the Bracknell Beer & Cider Festive tickets are NOW on sale. To get your tickets click here
Photos courtesy of Jayne Whitelegg
Bracknell: 1. Nick Ovens 2. Bradley Walters 3. Jonny Mirza 4. Leo Bailey 5.Rhys Verley 6. Tom Mew 7. Lorenzo Palacio 8. Michael Clarke (c) 9. Mikey MacDonald 10. Victor Hardwicke 11. Ian Burch 12. Chris Laidlaw 13. Cam MacDonald 14. Simon Bayliss 15. Gabe Hills Replacements: Tom Scott, Lewis Franklin, George Cotterell