Brackley RUFC have it all to do to avoid relegation after a 35-20 defeat to St Ives at the weekend left them firmly in trouble at the bottom of Midlands Three East South.
Though Brackley again held their own in the forwards, they couldn’t match the skill of the visitors’ back division, who pounced on every opportunity coming their way after an initial exchange of penalty goals.
When a Brackley midfield pass failed to find its target, St Ives were on to it in flash, snaffling the ball and racing over the line to take a 10-3 lead at the end of the first quarter.
A second penalty goal eased St Ives further ahead, while their backs took further advantage of Brackley’s defensive shortcomings to grab an unconverted try as halftime beckoned, giving the home side a mountain to climb as the teams changed ends with the score at 3-18.
Soon after the restart, fullback Phil Brinklow reduced the deficit with an explosive solo run to touch down behind the posts, Mike Lowdell adding the conversion to narrow the gap to eight points. But, almost immediately, their good work was negated when an aimless kick upfield was gathered by St Ives and sped back unchallenged for a converted try.
Lowdell then used his strength and guile to carry him from the St Ives 22 over the goal line for a fine try and conversion. When he added his second penalty goal moments later to bring the score to 20-25, Brackley briefly looked to be in with a chance.
But again St Ives struck back as skipper Jim Robinson secured his side’s win with a penalty and a converted try.
Brackley reach the midpoint of their league campaign this week when they travel to Stewarts and Lloyds.