BRACKNELL RFC extended their South West Premier unbeaten run to five matches as they continue to pull away from the relegation zone with a battling 23-21 victory at Cleve on Saturday.

The Lily Hill men made a dreadful start as they conceded a try to their opponents’ first attack, No. 8 Mike Uren driving over under the posts before Nathan Huntley made no mistake with the conversion.

However, Bracknell gradually got a foothold in the game, and after controlling possession for the majority of the opening quarter, they hit back to level in the 18th minute.

A solid scrum set the platform for the ball to spin down the backline, where Gabe Hills finished off a slick move before Vic Hardwicke landed the conversion.

Huntley missed a penalty as he attempted to put his side back in front, and they were made to pay as Hardwicke landed one of his own to put Dan Ap Dafydd’s side 10-7 up.

However, Cleve were not daunted by this setback, and they regained the advantage just before the half-hour mark.

Bracknell failed to halt a powerful driving maul, with back row Neil Evans the beneficiary as he touched down before Huntley slotted the kick to push his side 14-10 ahead.

There was still time for Bracknell to go back in front before the interval, some wonderful interplay among the forwards culminating with the ball being sent wide for wing Simon Bayliss to cross the whitewash. Hardwicke kept up his fine form from the tee to send the visitors into half time with a 17-14 lead.

Bracknell enjoyed the better of the early skirmishes in the second half, camping inside the Cleve half before the home side were further weakened when hooker Tom Gollop was yellow carded for a high tackle.

The away side could not turn their numerical advantage into a further try, but they moved six points in front courtesy of a Hardwicke penalty.

However, 14-man Cleve then stunned their opponents when scrum half Tommy Price broke clear and off-loaded to Huntley who went over under the posts before converting his own score.

Bracknell continued to control possession and territory, although it took them until 10 minutes from time to move back in front, replacement Chris Laidler slotting a penalty from the 10-metre line which ultimately proved the key moment.

Seventh-placed Bracknell host table-toppers Dings Crusaders at Lili Hill Park this coming Saturday (2.15pm).

  • CROWTHORNE RFC have pulled out of the BB&O Premier after conceding a fifth consecutive game against Abingdon on Saturday.

Rock bottom Crows had conceded seven games in total this season, and their record has now been expunged from the table.