BRACKNELL RFC returned to winning ways with a fine 31-22 South West Premier victory at home to Cleve.

The away side took the lead courtesy of a penalty from Nathan Huntley, and things got worse for Bracknell when Michael Clarke was shown a yellow card for a deliberate knock-on.

Although reduced in numbers, the Lily Hill men elected to take a scrum from a kickable penalty, and the decision paid off as from the scrum Chris Hala’ufia drove over in the Cleve corner. While the conversion was missed, a Chris Laidler penalty shortly after made it 8-3 to the hosts with a quarter of an hour gone.

Just before the half-time break, Cleve re-took the lead from a scrum on the Bracknell five-metre line as No. 8 Mike Uren dotted down and Huntley added the extras.

However, there was still sufficient time for Laidler to drop a goal and make it 11-10 to Bracknell at the interval.

The second half proved an entertaining affair and it was Cleve who went back into the lead courtesy of a converted try out wide.

Another Laidler penalty cut the gap to 17-14, but after he levelled with another successful shot at goal, the away side scored their third try of the day when centre Greg Welling was able to brush off a number of Bracknell tackles. While the conversion was missed, Cleve led 22-17.

Laidler missed two more penalties, but Bracknell went back in front when a deft off-load from Ben Sanderson to debutant wing Juite Tupua allowed him to sidestep into space and finish well under the posts. Laidler’s conversion was good and Bracknell were 24-22 up.

They were given a further boost when with 10 minutes remaining Cleve scrum half Alex Kilbane received a straight red for an off-the-ball incident.

And with the away side pressing on the Bracknell half-way line, a finger-tip interception by Tupua enabled him to canter in under the posts, Laidler’s conversion depriving Cleve of a losing bonus-point.

Bracknell do not have a game this weekend, but face a tough test on Saturday, October 21 when they travel to unbeaten table-toppers Dings Crusaders.

  • CROWTHORNE RFC scored their first points of the season, but still remain rooted to the foot of the BB&O Premier as a 33-15 loss at Abingdon consigned them to a fourth defeat in four.

They return to action at home to Bletchley on Saturday, October 21.