Tows are champions!

Rugby

Towcestrians 17

Bugbrooke 12

Tows clinched the league title with two games to spare by beating Bugbrooke in a nail-biting encounter at Greens Norton Road.

They went into the match favourites on paper after two comfortable wins on the trot against their local derby rivals.

But lacking Chrissie George, their lynchpin at No 10 who was struck down by a bug on Saturday morning, they struggled to find a rhythm.

Tows went ahead through a penalty try awarded against the Bugbrooke front row who buckled under pressure from the Tows tight five.

Full-back James Falvey kicked the extra points and Tows led 7-0 but only fleetingly as Bugbrooke hit back immediately.

Tows failed to clear the restart which led to a scrum five metres out. The Bugbrooke pack drove their hosts over the line for flanker Lewis Oliver to touch down.

Bugbrooke’s “points machine” Tom Wood, son of well-known Tows player John Wood, converted to level the scores.

Tows missed two chances to regain the advantage however. First, hooker Richard Tustian spilled the ball over the line and then scrum half Harry Hopewell was held up after a darting run.

A yellow card for centre Martyn Harvey didn’t help their cause but Tows managed to ease in front just before half-time.

They were awarded a penalty in front of the posts which Falvey kicked to turn round 10-7 ahead.

But they were soon on the back foot again when Wood finished off a line-out drive with a flashing blindside break.

He failed to convert his own try from wide-out but the Badgers now had their noses in front and were sniffing victory.

Only a try saving tackle from Falvey and a vital clearance from the full-back moments later kept the rampaging visitors at bay.

It was getting much too close for comfort for the home crowd when Tows finally rediscovered a flash of the form which has seen them unbeaten in the league this season.

They swept down field in phases and Hopewell, now playing at no 10, delayed his pass perfectly to leave David Devlin-Jones space to canter home.

He swept round the back of the defence to score under the posts and Falvey duly obliged by adding the extra points.

With seven minutes left on the clock, Tows held out to celebrate their league title with champagne and leave Bugbrooke wondering what might have been.

>>Brackley lost 44-17 in a tough contest at highfliers Rugby St. Andrews last Saturday, which puts them still in jeopardy from relegation. They need to win their final match this Saturday to be sure of league survival.

Turn to Page 116 for a full report of the game against Rugby St.Andrews.