Brackley emerged 34-26 victors over Bourne in Saturday’s Midlands Four East South fixture which proved to be a real humdinger.
It was a classic contest between a team with a dominant pack versus an opposition with a potent back division.
Brackley progressed by keeping the ball tight while Bourne sought every opportunity to exploit the wide channels. It was a recipe that served up nine tries with both teams securing a bonus point as Brackley nailed it by five tries, three conversions and a penalty against four tries and three conversions.
The home team were on the scoreboard inside ten minutes when in-form No 8 Luke Andrew went over from close range for an unconverted try.
But Bourne struck back twice in quick succession. Spinning the ball to the left wing, the visitors rounded the Brackley cover for an unconverted try in the corner, then pierced the midfield for try number two.
The conversion gave them a seven point lead at the end of an eventful first quarter but Brackley’s robust response in the second quarter would prove decisive.
After parking their tanks in front of the Bourne posts, the forwards moved the ball to the left where full-back Phil Brinklow latched onto it and dived beneath the clutches of the opposing pack to touch down in the corner. A fine conversion from fly-half Mike Lowdell brought Brackley level at 12-12.
Back came Brackley’s forwards to hammer away at the Bourne line once more. After prop Luke Hallam Evans, hooker Aaron Loggin and second rower Jonny Morris had all come within a whisker of breaching the defence, flanker Russell Newman spotted a gap and crossed for the try.
Lowdell added the extras and the teams changed ends with the score at 19-12.
Brackley moved further ahead when centre Jake Wise landed a kick within Bourne’s in-goal area and won the chase to the ball for his side’s fourth try.
The celebrations were short-lived however as Bourne scored an outstanding solo try and the conversion put them back in touch at 24-19.
Hallam Evans and flanker Dan Kimber made deep inroads into Bourne territory to set up a platform for centre Mike Lowe to go over for try number five, converted by Lowdell.
Bourne refused to be cowed with their right winger scoring converted try in the corner. With the score at 31-26, they were still in with a chance.
A final frantic five minutes came to an end with Lowdell kicked a penalty and Brackley were home and dry.