Johnson’s try proves crucial for Brackley

Brackley centre Jon Cooper makes a tackle against Bedford Swifts. Photo: Neale Hutchinson

Storm Brian may have played a big part in many rugby games across the country but the Brackley defence comfortably coped with that and Bedford Swifts.

A solitary try from Seb Johnson earned Brackley a 5-0 victory over Bedford Swifts in Saturday’s Midlands Four East South fixture. In what is well known by both sides as an 80 minute arm wrestle, both teams threw the kitchen sink at each other but it was Brackley who came out on top.

Swifts started the stronger and for the first ten minutes had the majority of the ball, looking to play very tight and had a lot of control to their game.

But it was Brackley who broke the deadlock following their first entry into the Bedford 22. A clever box kick from captain Dan Gray wasn’t dealt with by the Swifts winger and Johnson was on hand to grubber kick the ball over the try line and dive on it.

There was very little difference between the two teams, Brackley were happy to let Swifts have a lot of the ball as they became easy to defend by consistently picking from the base of the ruck. The discipline from the home side was very good as the travelling Swifts struggled to break Brackley’s close quarters down.

Brackley had their opportunities to score mainly in the second half but the final execution let them down. With the game still in the balance and a couple of minutes left, Swifts had all the territory and possession, with back-to-back penalties gaining them an excellent opportunity to level the scores.

A good 25 phases of pick and go rugby on the Brackley try line led to a nail-biting finish. But Brackley stood firm and eventually got hands on the ball and stole a penalty for Mike Lowdell to clear the ball off the park and the balcony of homes supporters celebrated.

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