Quins strike at the death to deny Tows in thriller

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Towcestrians remain level on points at the top of South West One East despite suffering late heartbreak in a dramatic 25-25 draw at Oxford Harlequins.

Tows travelled to Oxford to take on a Harlequins side who have struggled to get going since being relegated back to South West One, and looking to consolidate their position at the top of the table, the visitors made the worst possible start when Quins full-back Jack Robinson ran through almost untouched for the opening try.

Jolted by this, Tows kicked into life and a break from debutant scrum-half Murray Aitchison set winger Matt Yuill away for a try to level the scores, before the visitors showed their dominance in the scrum and Aitchison was able to smuggle the ball over.

Tows were now in full flow and another score from full-back James Falvey stretched their lead to 15-5, though a Quins penalty on the stroke of half-time brought them back to within seven at the break.

The second half saw a turnaround in fortune as the home team gained the upper hand and dotted down for two quickfire tries, and with Falvey slotting over a penalty for Towcester in reply, the scores were all level at 18-18.

Robinson then missed the chance to give Oxford the lead when he was off target with straightforward penalty attempt and that looked to be a crucial miss when Tows went up the other end and Yuill crossed for bonus-point try.

Favley added the extras to seemingly make the game safe, however with seconds remaining and with the last move of the game, Quins kicked the ball out wide for their winger to gather and cross for the try.

Still trailing by two, Robinson then kept his nerve and kicked an excellent penalty from out wide to see the match end in a thrilling draw.

Tows are level with Maidenhead at the top, three points clear of the chasing pack.

Speaking after the game, coach Robbie George said: “It was tough game against a determined outfit. There are no easy games in this league and we have to turn up, physically and mentally, and play our best every time if we are to continue our success.”

Tows face a tough test at third-placed Windsor this week. Elsewhere, Tows IIs beat Avon IIs 19-14 and the IIIs overcame Bugbrooke 20-7.