BRACKNELL RFC boosted their South West Premier survival bid with a 27-14 victory at Exmouth.

It was the Lily Hill men’s third win in a row and, though they remain 11th in the table, they are now nine points clear of the relegation places, with Newton Abbot already down.

Bracknell showed no signs of rustiness after a week off for their final away trip of the season outside the county of Berkshire.

The visitors named an unchanged side for the clash against an Exmouth team sitting comfortably in fifth position.

Bracknell took five minutes to get on the scoreboard when a clever cross-field kick from Vic Hardwicke found Simon Bayliss to dot down, Hardwicke adding the conversion.

They stretched their lead to 14-0 just five minutes later when Gabe Hills intercepted a pass and raced the length of the pitch.

Exmouth replied with a catch-and-drive try from an attacking lineout but, despite enjoying a strong spell, their attacks often broke down against an excellent Bracknell defence.

And it soon got even better for the visitors shortly before the break when Cam MacDonald broke the home team’s line before offloading to Bradley Walters who grabbed his first try for the club and a 19-7 lead.

Bracknell went in search of a bonus point and it came 10 minutes after the break with their fourth touchdown of the game, with Ian Burch darting over after quick hands in the back line.

And a strong fightback from the hosts failed to materialise after that as Bracknell’s showed superb management of the game.

Exmouth did cross for a second score of the day through wing Fin Marks which Sam Whitehead converted, but it was too little too late.

And it was the visitors who scored the last points of the game thanks to a Hardwicke penalty in the closing stages.

Bracknell captain Michael Clark beamed: “We knew heading down to Exmouth was going to be a big challenge. Our away form has not been great this year, but the way we prepared and our tw previous wins gave us some confidence of coming away with the five points we desperately needed.

“A clear plan was in place for when we had the ball and we manage to execute that better than we have done all year which allowed us to control the score board.

“The thing I was most proud of was our effort in defence, Exmouth are a big set of boys and we knew we had to win collisions on the gain line to stop them getting momentum. There were some huge performances in that regard and we certainly won that battle.”

He added: “We mustn’t get over excited as we have three big games to come, but we’re definitely trending in the right direction.”

Bracknell host Ivybridge this Saturday (2.15pm ko), having lost the reverse fixture 35-21 in December.

Photos courtesy of Jayne Whitelegg & Dr Andrea Sawton