Maidenhead RFC work hard to earn bonus-point victory over rivals Windsor RFC

Graeme Copas

Reporter:

Graeme Copas

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Maidenhead RFC 29 (15), Windsor RFC 0 (0)

In front of an impressive crowd of 512 at Braywick, Maidenhead made the most of their opportunities and showcased their mean defence to claim a bonus-point victory over rivals Windsor.

The hosts found their stride from the first whistle, soon initiating their quick, off-loading game and were 12-0 ahead after 15 minutes.

Hooker Nic Jones opened the scoring following a catch and drive from a lineout and then centre Christoph Bart found an attacking angle to go under posts minutes later.

Having missed the first conversion, Ed Keohane was on target with the second to put Maids at ease and in control.

Windsor were struggling to gain any meaningful ball as their set pieces creaked at the seams and they started to rush their game attempting to mimic their hosts' style of play.

Accordingly, their turnover count rose.

A penalty from Keohane on 30 minutes made the score 15-0 which was a fair reflection of the half.

Either side of this penalty, Windsor had chances to get on the scoreboard but kicker James Howard was off target on both occasions.

To Windsor's credit they were the dominant force in the first 20 minutes of the second half, playing a more straight forward style, maintaining possession, recycling the ball and pressing their hosts, who in turn made a few poor decisions.

However, Maids' defence may have been severely tested, but it was not breached.

As a result Windsor finally blew themselves out while Maids, now bolstered by a triple substitution bringing on Tom Finnie, Will Macaulay and Paul Britton, eventually worked their way up the pitch.

They scored the crucial third try to make certain of victory with the first opportunity they created in the second half.

From a lineout, Maids stayed patient and went through the phases before fly-half Will Thompson wriggled his way over the line on 65 minutes. Keohane converted.

Scrum-half Jack Hill then pounced when the ball popped out of a Windsor scrum 10 minutes later to earn Maids a sort-after bonus point. Finnie was on target with the conversion.

It completed a hard fought performance from the hosts, not one of their best by any measure, but one which will bring a huge sense of satisfaction.

For Windsor, who were hobbled by the early loss of fly-half Ben Grant-Adamson and inside centre Matt Balmer, there was plenty of promise in this performance and clear signs of progression from the 45-13 defeat when the two teams met in September.

Maids' lead at the top of South West 1 East is still one point after a 26-11 win for second-placed Old Patesians at Reading Abbey. Newbury stay third with narrow 32-31 success at home to Swindon.

Maids are away to Banbury on Saturday who have climbed to fourth place following their success at Grove

Windsor, who are 10th just a point above Chippenham, entertain Newbury on Saturday.

This is the start of a tough schedule for the team who then face Old Centralians and promotion hopefuls Old Patesians in the two following weeks.

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SW1E results:

Chippenham 31, Witney 3

Grove 8, Banbury 17

Maidenhead 29, Windsor 0

Newbury Blues 32, Swindon 31

Old Centralians 26, Royal Wootton Bassett 8

Old Patesians 26, Reading Abbey 11

Oxford Harlequins 20, Reading 10

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