Buckingham RUFC slipped to a narrow defeat on Saturday in yet another engrossing South West One East encounter at Newbury Blues.
The 14-12 defeat was the fifth time this season Buckingham have lost by fewer than five points, keeping them third from bottom.
After Buckingham had made inroads deep into the Blues defence, the hosts response was quick and clinical. On their first attack, they carved through the centre of the Buckingham midfield and, aided by some woeful tackling, were seven points up with only four minutes on the clock.
The Blues continued to have a territorial advantage and missed the opportunity to go further ahead as Buckingham continued to soak up the pressure to survive until the interval.
From the restart, Buckingham were on the front foot, driving the Blues back inside their own half with Gillie nearly wriggling free after a sweeping cross-field attack.
The pressure paid off when the ball was turned over and the ever-present Wright set up a storming drive before Sam Clapham’s quick pass set Bernard galloping through the gap with Ollie Payne in support to score an excellent try. Andy White added the extras to level the scores.
Buckingham were now in the ascendency and kept the Blues penned inside their 22.
More good work by the pack on the home five-metre line found Rob Laird with ball in hand and he scored a deserved try to give Buckingham a five-point lead.
Newbury were reduced to 14 when a forward was sin binned for stamping but they held out under further onslaught before working their way to the Buckingham end, where the pack rumbled over and the kicker made amends for his earlier misses to kick what turned out to be the winning conversion – though Buckingham did push the home side back onto their own line for the final five minutes without reward.
This Saturday, Buckingham host the inform Oxford Harlequins, who are undefeated after seven straight wins and sit three points clear at the top of the table.