BRACKNELL RFC ended a four-match losing streak with a gutsy 17-17 draw at home to Bournemouth in their final South West Premier fixture of 2017.

The third-placed visitors were slim favourties before kick-off on Saturday having edged a 23-20 win over Bracknell in Dorset back in September.

On that occasion only a late missed penalty separated the sides and last weekend there was nothing at all between them after a hard-fought draw.

Bracknell head coach Dan ap Dafydd tinkered with his squad as Ben Saunderson continued in the back row, captain James Ingle returned to the starting line up, Chris Laidler got the nod at fly-half and Ally Walton stepped in at scrum-half.

The Lily Hill men, attacking the clubhouse end, were first on the scoreboard in the 10th minute.

Bracknell News:

Bracknell fly-half Chris Laidler tackles a Bournemouth player.

James Ingle took a clean lineout catch before finding Juite Tupua who broke through Bournemouth’s defence before sending a long pass to Simon Bayliss to score the opening try which Laidler failed to convert.

Bournemouth responded immediately when Alan Manning went over from a driving maul with Grant Hancox adding the extras for a 7-5 lead.

Hancox extended Bournemouth’s advantage in the 20th minute with a successful penalty after Bracknell were pinged at the breakdown.

And the visitors remained on the front foot and notched their second try on the half-hour mark.

Bracknell coughed up possession in midfield before Bournemouth attacked down the left where replacement wing Danny Kirkpatrick streaked over the line. Hancox nailed a fine touchline conversion to put his side in the driving seat at 17-5 up at the interval.

Yet the Lily Hill men came out firing for the second half and notched their second try of the day with 55 minutes gone.

And again, Bayliss was the man who crossed the whitewash for his second of the game after finding space out wide, though Laidler’s conversion attempt sailed wide to leave the hosts 17-10 down.

However, hopes of a Bracknell comeback looked to have been dashed by successive yellow cards to Chris Hala’ufia and Ally Walton.

Bracknell News:

Bracknell's Chris Hala'ufia collides with a Bournemouth player.

But despite their numerical disadvantage, Bracknell’s defence stood firm and Bournemouth’s failure to score in this period proved their undoing.

Instead, Bracknell finished strongly and snatched a draw from the jaws of defeat from the penultimate play of the match.

Laidler kicked a penalty into touch 10 metres from the visitors’ line before an excellent catch-and-drive ended with Ben Sanderson grabbing the vital touchline.

Laidler then held his nerve to knock over a difficult conversion to tie the match at the death in front of a jubilant Lily Hill clubhouse.

The result still leaves Bracknell third from bottom of the table. They return to action on January 6 with a trip to Newbury.

Bracknell: Challenor, Clarke, Ovens, Bailey, Goodison, Ingle (c), Sanderson, Hala’ufia, Walton, Laidler, Bayliss, Nacamavuto, Edwards, Burch, Hills. Replacements: Cotterell, McDonald, Tupua.

  • BRACKNELL RFC Academy will take on an Old Boys XV in an exhibition match at Lily Hill Park this Saturday (2pm).