BRACKNELL RFC clinched a fourth successive victory in National Three South West with a thrilling 34-30 home win against a resilient Newton Abbot.

Some superb attacking play allied with a strong defence when it mattered earned Dan ap Dafydd’s men the bragging rights in Saturday’s high-scoring clash at Lily Hill Park.

It took just two minutes for Bracknell to open the scoring when Lachy Valentine drove over from close range.

Their dream start continued when Jonny Morza grabbed their second try following a series of rucks in the Newton Abbot 22.

And with just 10 minutes gone Bracknell added a third try, this time Kim Plant making the vital break before offloading to Chris Laidler to score under the posts. Anthony Fitch added his first conversion following two earlier missed attempts to put the hosts 17-0 in front.

But if Bracknell thought this would be a stroll in the park they were soon brought back down to earth.

From their first venture into Bracknell territory, a break by Abbot winger Jack Bond led to a ruck in front of posts and James Ingle was yellow carded by referee James Milliner for handling on the ground.

From the resulting scum, Abbot were awarded a penalty try which cut the lead to 17-7.

Two further Newton Abbot penalties reduced the deficit even further to 17-13 then Bracknell were dealt another blow when Valentine was also sent to the sin bin.

Nevertheless, the Lily Hill men dug deep and a superb finish from Fitch following an excellent run from Ben Yates secured their four-try bonus point, with Fitch’s conversion with the help of the post giving them a 24-13 lead.

There was still time left in the first half for Newton Abbot to respond once again and score a try from a line-out to leave them 24-20 behind going into the interval.

An open and flowing first half was followed by a more brutal second period with defences on top.

Yet Abbot could not stop Bracknell from adding try number five when Yates went over in the corner following a slick break from second-row Plant.

Fitch’s superb conversion from out wide gave the hosts some breathing space.

The sides exchanged penalties after that, then Abbot set up a nailbiting finish when number eight Jarryd Harris barrelled over from the base of a scrum to score under the posts, with the conversion leaving them four points behind.

But Bracknell stood up to everything Newton Abbot threw at them in the tense final stages to hold on for the victory, with Abbot having to settle for a losing bonus point.

The win leaves Bracknell eighth in the table ahead of Saturday’s difficult trip to a Bournemouth side one place above them (2.15pm ko).

Bracknell: Staples, Clarke, Mirza, Bailey, Plant 6, Valentine, Rice, Ingle, Conway, Laidler, Yates, Nowak, Sanderson, Burch, Anthony Fitch. Subs: Challenor, Goodison, Hopkins.

  • BRACKNELL Old Boys will take on the club’s Academy in an exhibition match at Lily Hill Park this Sunday (2pm ko).