Brackley sneaked through the preliminary round of the Lewis Shield when a last-gasp try earned them a thrilling 32-28 victory over Northampton Men’s Own.
In a pulsating, free-flowing match, Brackley twice held a lead of 13 points or more and were twice reeled in, but eventually secured victory with a dramatic injury-time try.
The Lewis Shield is a competition for junior rugby clubs in membership of the Northampton & District Alliance, and Brackley made an ideal start to their campaign when, inside five minutes, full-back Ken Marshall-Grant shrugged off two tackles and rounded the posts for a try. Fly-half Mike Lowdell added the extras.
The hosts responded with a foray into the Brackley 22, but centre Josh Green broke out and put winger Phil Brinklow away for a second try with Lowdell’s conversion giving Brackley a 14-0 lead after just 12 minutes.
Men’s Owen rallied with two tries in quick succession to level, but Brackley regained the advantage before half-time through Gareth Harvey’s penalty.
Harvey was back in action soon after the restart as he went on a weaving run from his right wing to touch down between the posts for a try which Lowdell again converted.
Harvey then added his second penalty goal to put the visitors into a 27-14 lead, but again Northampton came storming back with two tries that put them into a one-point lead with just five minutes remaining.
Brackley refused to buckle though and conjured up one final attack as they launched wave after wave on the home try line before finally gaining their reward when replacement flanker Ross Isaac stormed over for the match-winning try.
Brackley’s league campaign resumes this week when they visit Deepings.