BRACKNELL secured a crucial South West Premier win with a hard-fought 26-21 home success against Berkshire rivals and basement boys Newbury.

With both sides teetering around the relegation zone, it added an extra edge to the local derby which Bracknell have remained unbeaten in over the last 10 years.

The victory sees Bracknell sitting four points above the drop zone as they approach the halfway mark of the season, and their head of rugby, Daniel ap Dafydd, was delighted.

He beamed: “We showed great spirit. Just before half time I thought we were tiring, so we had to bring on the replacements earlier than we would’ve liked. There are still areas we need to improve on, but we’re working on it.”

Coming off the back of a brilliant victory over top-of-the-table Barnstaple, Newbury’s confidence was given a further boost as Bracknell’s Elliot Bellman received a red card after just seven minutes.

However, this did not deter the home side as they scored three tries in the first half, with two coming from Ian Burch and the other from Michael Clarke.

Burch received a yellow card to take Bracknell down to 13 men going into the break, but with Vic Hardwicke having landed five points with the boot, the hosts led 20-0 at the interval.

Newbury came out in the second half with a new zeal, as they scored two tries in quick succession from Dan Thorne and Tommy Martin, casting doubt in the minds of the home fans who had expected victory.

However, Bracknell remained resolute defending stoutly and adding two Hardwice penalties to their tally to extend their lead to 12 points.

Martin scored his second of the game in the final few minutes, after pouncing on a loose ball and running it over the line, but it was only a consolation, as the final whistle signalled celebrations among the Lily Hill park faithful.

Bracknell visit Okehampton this coming Saturday.