Daventry are through to the semi final of the Alliance Cup and secured a vital league win at the same time after Bradley Wardell slotted a last minute penalty to see them to a thrilling win at Northampton Boys Brigade Old Boys.
This league and cup double header was not a pretty game by any means, however Daventry showed the resilience and togetherness needed when things don’t to go to plan.
A disastrous first 20 minutes saw the Blacks 12-0 down due to a whole host of missed tackles. As the half wore on they gradually edged their way back into the game.
A fine counter attack helped raise confidence and a few minutes later Lee Cresswell set up a driving maul.
The ball was ripped out by James Heath who fed Adam Whitehead who fell over the line for a vital score.
The Blacks improved in the second half, their scrum and line out began to function, the forwards carried well, Jake O’Keife crossed the gain line at ease and they secured some vital turn overs at the tackle area.
The introduction of coach Toby Johnson played a huge part in turning the screw in the scrum and, following a serious of scrums, James Heath eventually crossed. When Wardell added the extras, this brought the score to 12-12.
To still be in the game at this point was a positive as there is no argument that BBOB should have been out of sight by half time, however the Blacks were confident they could nick a win if they stuck to their structure and controlled field position.
This is testament to a settled squad who are now starting to gel together as a unit.
They got their opportunity to win when Jason Cooper managed to force a penalty for holding on. The kick was not easy, but Wardell struck it superbly to save the watching crowd from extra time!
Man of the match went to second row Alec Elliot who entered the fray near half time and made a huge difference.
The win leaves Daventry one game away from a trip to Franklin’s Gardens. They play the winner of Long Buckby or Casuls in the semi final at Daventry with the date TBC.
This Saturday the Blacks are at home to Northampton Casuals (ko 2.15pm).
Third-in-the-table Leicester Vipers visited third from bottom Long Buckby and, in a close fought game, came away with a 24-17 win.
Vipers started the quicker and after only six minutes rolled over for their first try.
Buckby fought back well and forced Vipers to kick long. Full back Luke Foster retrieved the ball and ran it back. From the ruck the ball was spun to back row Doug Burroughs who pressed forward.
Jonny Palmer picked up and fed Nick Denman who in turn popped the ball off to Fegus Murray who went in to score a great try.
Buckby were let off the hook 10 minutes later when the Vipers right wing made a great break only to throw a forward pass to his team-mate who would have otherwise had a simple run in.
After 34 minutes Bucks were not so lucky as their dominance at the scrum led to the ball squirting out the back enabling the Vipers No 9 to pounce and score as the visitors led 12-5.
Just before half time things got worse for the home side when, once again, having won the ball against the head the back line kicked possession away allowing Vipers to run back and put their No 8 in under the posts and stretch the half time lead to 14 points.
Vipers started the second half all guns blazing, and Buckby lost scrum-half Richard Ryan to inury.
Despite this Buckby regained some control and, after 52 minutestheir second row Sam Evans fed Sam Gododhall for the youngster to get his debut first team try.
The kick was missed, but at 19-10 down, it looked like Buckby might have a chance.
This was snuffed out quickly. Vipers hoofed the ball forward and in a desperate chase, despite being several metres behind the play with the ball bobbling around, the referee awarded the try. The kick was missed leaving the door open for Buckby to still grab a losing bonus point which was a chance they took with both hands.
The forwards went through several phases with the likes of Chris Page, Fred Saunders and Dave Wardle showing their paces before the ball went wide to prop Tim Lewis who ran 15 metres and avoided two defenders to score in the corner.
Nick Denman found his kicking boots to rescue a point but overall, and despite numerous injuries, Buckby will feel this was a game where they could have got so much more out of if only they trained together more regularly.
Buckby team: Tim Lewis Tom Haynes John Paul Watters Dave Wardle Sam Evans Doug Burroughs Fergus Murray Fred Saunders Richard Ryan, Jonny Palmer Nick Denman Jake Toseland Sam Goodhall James Hare Luke Foster. Replacements: Jonny Nixon Rob Hough Chris Page
Scorers: Tries: Fergus Murray Tim Lewis Sam Goodhall. Con: Nick Denman