Brackley have to dig deep to earn their share at Swifts

Mikey Clarke scores for Brackley against Beford Swifts. Photo: Neale Hutchinson NNL-190128-094728002
Mikey Clarke scores for Brackley against Beford Swifts. Photo: Neale Hutchinson NNL-190128-094728002

Brackley are up to second in Midlands Four East South following a thrilling draw at Bedford Swifts.

Bedford has always been one of the toughest trips for Brackley and it was no different on Saturday as they were forced to dig deep and force a 13-13 draw.

Swifts started out on top as Brackley quickly found themselves on the wrong side of the referee, allowing the hosts to kick an early penalty. Swifts continued to keep the pressure on and soon after followed up with an unconverted try after finding a gap in the Brackley midfield.

The visitors started working themselves back into the game and winning the territory battle. As the Brackley pressure continued throughout the first half, Bedford started to give away penalties and fly-half Mike Lowdell kicked two.

Brackley started the second half on top piling the pressure on the hosts but couldn’t find that finishing touch to cross the whitewash. Bedford displayed impressive defence and a turnover inside the Brackley half put the hosts on the front foot, a clever kick through by the full-back saw the left winger win the race to the ball and make it 13-6.

Now starting to reach desperation mode, the visitors struggled to find that all important try. But they were given a lifeline when Swifts lost a man to the sin-bin for a high tackle.

Five minutes later an errant Swifts pass on the halfway line was intercepted by hooker Mikey Clark and he ran through to score under the posts, which was converted by Lowdell to make it 13-13 with less than ten minutes to go.

Despite having the momentum behind them and a man advantage, Brackley started to make it hard for themselves, giving away penalties which brought Swifts into the visitors’ 22. Brackley showed resolute goal line defence to get a valuable turnover and then started to work their way up the pitch, making ground with every run.

With the visitors in the Bedford half and both sides knowing the 80 minutes were almost up, a failed interception attempt by a Swifts player went unpunished by the referee before the final whistle went.

Both sides come away with a share of the points, which moves Brackley up to second in the table behind leaders Northampton BBOB as promotion rivals Sileby Town, who have the same number of points, did not play. This week, Brackley are not in league action, so they could slip back down the table, but face a tough match as they host Northampton Old Scouts in the Lewis Shield.