Local spoils go to 1XV
Bracknell 15 Maidenhead 11
Only ten miles separates Maidenhead RFC and Bracknell RFC, more importantly in SW premier league terms it was sixteen points which demonstrates how each team’s season has gone. Last season in the corresponding fixture it was Maidenhead that took the spoils, Maidenhead hooker Mark Darlington scoring in the final moments to give the visitors a 25 -28 win. This time the visitors were looking to build on a 28-16 win over leaders Bournemouth last time out, Bracknell looking find the form that has seen them lose only one game at home so far this season, curiously enough to Bournemouth.
Head of Rugby Daniel ap Dafydd was almost able to name a unchanged team to face Maidenhead, Jason Henry returning at centre, while Lewis Franklin came off the bench to start at scrum half.
Bracknell kicked off playing away from the clubhouse on a damp December day. Bracknell opened the scoring, a Vic Hardwicke penalty giving Bracknell an early three point lead.
Bracknell extended their lead just before the ten minute mark, Michael Clarke collecting the ball out wide breaking a tackle to off load to Simon Bayliss who, with still some work to do, finished expertly in the Maidenhead corner. Conversion was missed.
Maidenhead rallied and were awarded a penalty of their own for not rolling away. Fly half Adam Lubbock adding the points.
As the rain started to fall, Jason Henry broke through centre midfield finding Ian Burch in space he broke the Maidenhead defensive line to score by the Maidenhead posts. Vic Hardwicke converted to give Bracknell a twelve point lead with twenty minutes gone.
Maidenhead now pressuring the Bracknell line were rewarded with a try off the base of a scrum. Scrum half Ceri Morgan feeding winger Mike Davies to score in the corner for the final score of the half.
Half time: Bracknell 15 Maidenhead 8
Half time saw the unveiling of the new score board at club in memory of a club member Guy Elliott, with his family and friends in attendance.
With no lack of effort from both sides, it took half an hour of the second half before Adam Lubbock kicked three points for Maidenhead. Both sides worked hard to get the critical score but neither could add further points.
Full time: Bracknell 15 Maidenhead 11 (Points: Bracknell 4 Maidenhead 1)
Director of Rugby Jamie Turner said after the game “Clearly pleased with the result but equally pleased with how the team coped with everything on the day.”
The result sees Bracknell remain in tenth spot but have opened up a 6 point advantage over the relegation spots. The game also marks the mid point of the league all sides having played each other. Bournemouth maintain a good lead at the top, with both Ivybridge and Barnstaple on equal points in the chase for the play-off spot. For Bracknell's own half term report, home form deserves a 'very good' whereas away form 'needs improvement'.
Well done to the 3XV who had a bonus point win 19-43 at Aylesbury II in their BBO2 fixture.
Next Saturday Bracknell travel to Cheltenham as they visit Old Patesians for their final game of 2018, please come along and support the team. They return to Lily Hill on 5th January 2019 when they face Barnstaple (KO.2.15pm). While the 1XV are away there are two teams at Lily Hill. The Stags have their own Berkshire derby vs the Rams while 3XV face Bicester. Please come along and support the teams if you can’t travel away, they will be pleased to have you cheer them along.
Photos courtesy Jayne Middleton.
Bracknell: 1 Elliott Bellman 2 Michael Clarke (c) 3 Ken Dowding 4 Leo Bailey 5 Rhys Verley 6 Sam Gibbons 7 Thomas Spencer-Jones 8 Giuseppe Salustri 9 Lewis Franklin 10 Vic Hardwicke 11 Simon Bayliss 12 Ian Burch 13 Jason Henry 14 Cam McDonald 15 Gabe Hills Replacements: George Cotterell, Ash Stevenson-Leigh, Conor Segre