Brackley beat Midlands Four East South leaders Northampton BBOB 27-10 to keep their play-off hopes alive.
With the promotion race so tight, every game is a must win for Brackley and they don’t come any tougher than a BBOB side sitting comfortably on the top of the table. But Brackley produced a sterling display to take the points and stay firmly in the promotion picture.
The visitors started the stronger of the two teams, looking to put the ball through the hands and get it out wide early. That bright start was soon rewarded as BBOB slotted an early penalty.
Brackley responded brilliantly and showed how up for it they were with the forwards in particular impressing and setting a nice platform for fly half Mike Lowdell. Despite the conditions, the hosts also showed they were willing to play running rugby and looked to keep the ball alive with good off-loads, which led to the reward of some excellent team tries. Skipper Luke Hallam-Evans, as always, led from the front and scored the opening try. That was followed by the try of the match as the Brackley forwards put it through the hands on the ten metre line and, after some more off-loading, the ball eventually found its way to scrum-half Andy Mawle who went over.
The second half brought much of the same as Lowdell increased the hosts’ lead with a penalty. With the bit between their teeth, Brackley kept the pressure on and eventually added a third try through replacement Stefon Webb
With the game into the last quarter, BBOB showed why they have been so imperious this season and were able to start putting pressure on Brackley’s line and, with the home side down to 14 men, used the numbers advantage to exploit an overlap on the wing to make it 20-10 with less than ten minutes to go. But that reignited Brackley who went on the hunt for a bonus point try and it came in the final seconds as the forwards and backs linked well to get the ball out wide to Michael Houpe to score in the corner and win the game 27-10.
Brackley get a well-deserved break on Saturday before taking on fellow promotion rivals Northampton Mens Own, who sit two points ahead of them and are also in impressive form.