Brackley respond with top performance and the points

Will Cooper races away for Brackley against Thorney
Will Cooper races away for Brackley against Thorney

Brackley took an early lead against Thorney and were never headed during a much improved performance compared with the outing at Stamford College Old Boys.

Led by an outstanding contribution from club captain Will Cooper, they delivered a truly 15-man effort for the full 80 minutes to see off the visitors 27-12 in Saturday’s Midlands Four East South fixture.

Despite being given an almighty shove backwards in the first scrum, the home team were on the scoreboard with just five minutes played.

A punt upfield from fly-half Mike Lowdell bounced into the arms of chasing centre Jake Wise who made valuable ground before off-loading to fellow centre Danton Robinson. Robinson had his work cut out but managed to stretch over in the corner for a try converted by Lowdell.

Thorney were quick to respond. Driving into the Brackley 22, the visitors’ pack sucked in the defence before sending the ball wide to the left, where the winger’s sheer pace won him a converted try.

The visitors pressed but Brackley stood firm before making inroads into the Thorney half with strong runs from Tim Carter and Jonny Morris. A transgression at the maul saw Lowdell land a penalty.

After a driving maul had been held up just short of the line, play switched to the left wing where Dan Cooper came within a whisker of touching down, the ball was recycled to Robinson and the centre crossed with Lowdell’s conversion making it 17-7.

A revived Thorney made all the running straight after the break. They pegged Brackley on their goal line, a three-man wedge blasted through the defence for their second try.

Moments later Will Cooper broke through midfield, he was stopped by the full-back but managed to off-load to Wise who raced over the line. Lowdell added the extras.

Though Thorney once more took play into Brackley’s half, they encountered far stiffer resistance this time, typified by scything tackles from Will Cooper, the immovable presence of prop Luke Hallam Evans and determined counter attacks by full-back Phil Brinklow.

Once the home side had weathered the storm, Lowdell was soon back on kicking duty, this time with a penalty goal to give Brackley a cushion of 15 points with six minutes to play.

Thorney threw everything at Brackley’s right flank, yet it would not yield. Tackle after tackle came in from Brackley, denying the visitors any opportunity of adding to their score and securing a well-deserved win.