MIDLANDS FOUR EAST (SOUTH): Brackley 17 Bourne 11
Bourne came away with more than just their pride intact despite a narrow defeat against bottom side Brackley who they had blanked 21-0 last November.
John Forbes’ side travelled to Fine Lady Fields with just 14 players which meant the joint coach had to pick himself in the front row.
The Northamptonshire side predictably took the lead with a converted try after five minutes, but indiscipline let Bourne back into the match with a string of penalties, one of which was kicked by scrum half Harley Giullari to make the score 7-3 at half-time.
Bourne took the lead early in the second half when a crossfield kick by Tom Dixon was gathered up by winger Josh Jordan-Boddey who added to his two tries against Queens in the Midlands Junior Vase quarter-final last weekend with another one at Nightingale Close.
But the toil of having to play the last 20 minutes with just 13 men, after centre Sam Thornburn went off injured, finally told with two more unconverted tries for Brackley.
Even then, Tom Dixon managed to kick another penalty to make it 17-11 before the full-time whistle.
After the match, Forbes said: “We only went down there with 14 men and we had no subs because there were quite a few who pulled out on us.
“But we were quite up for the game due to the fact that we had beaten Brackley earlier in the season.
“For the first five minutes, we thought we’d be under the cosh, but our pressure was good, we tackled well and we won quite a lot of penalties.
I was very, very impressed with the commitment of the lads when all we could do was tackle the man in front of you and cover any gapsBourne joint coach John Forbes
“At 8-7 up, we held the score until the last quarter of the game when we lost Sam and they got a try through the middle to make it 10-8.
“We knew that we had to get our tackles in, otherwise they were going to get a host of tries.
“But Brackley weren’t smart in that they didn’t make more use of the wind and the overlaps, taking the game down the middle instead.
“We were fairly buoyant about the whole process and we started the second half very positively with the try Josh scored.
“That put us 8-7 in front and we held that score until the last 20 minutes when we lost Sam which put us down to 13 men.
“But I was very, very impressed with the commitment of the lads when all we could do was tackle the man in front of you, try to get up as quickly as possible and cover any gaps.
“When it came to set plays, we disrupted the front of the scrum quite well.
“But having eight against seven in the front row was bound to take its toll on us.”