06:19PM, Saturday 11 February 2017
Maidenhead RFC 47 (19), Witney RFC 26 (19)
Maidenhead fought back to recover from some first half body blows to eventually score seven tries and ease past a talented Witney side.
Maids rarely gelled as a unit, struggling to put together prolonged periods of phase-building, but they possessed enough individual talent and desire to win the second half 28-7 and with it the match.
Initially it seemed as if this might be another jog in the park at Braywick as the hosts were 19-0 ahead at better than a point a minute after two touchdowns from winger Scott Prince and one from prop Lewis Jones. Finnie kicked two out of the three conversions.
When Witney hit back, having barely been in the game and when down to 14 men after a yellow card, they hit back hard.
Tries from scrum-half Gareth Campbell, and two for fullback George Lewis, added to two conversions from fly-half Henry Lamb, left the scoreline 19-19 at the break.
All the rhythm which Maids had created was now with Witney.
To Maids' credit they quickly regained some composure and patience on the ball, which gave them back the momentum and which eventually led to two quick tries from Finnie and scrum-half Mark Childerhouse. Finnie added the extras to give the hosts some breathing space at 33-19.
Witney are a skilful team and fired up on the sidelines by coach, and former Maids player, Richie Craig, they reduced the deficit with another Campbell touchdown, converted by Lamb.
But, unlike in the first half, the rally was cut short as Maids ensured the bonus-point success with tries from second row Murray Barratt and No.7 Will Macaulay. Finnie converted both to take his tally to six from seven attempts.
It was not a classic Maids performance and question marks remain over their defence and ability to stick to a game plan, but it was a much-needed and morale-boosting victory ahead of next week's crunch clash with third placed Newbury Blues.
Maidenhead RFC: Finnie, Bart, Keohane, Hannigan, Prince, Jansen, Childerhouse; Parrott, N Jones, L Jones, Churchyard, Barratt, Muil, Macaulay, Long. Subs: Britton, Emmanuel, Thompson.
Oxford Harlequins 41, Windsor 7
Windsor remain in the South West 1 East bottom four after a hefty defeat at second-last Oxford Harlequins.
They are four points behind Chippenham, who are in the place above them, but the Berkshire side do have a game in hand.
South West 1 East results:
Maidenhead 47, Witney 26
Newbury Blues 16, Grove 5
Old Centralians 15, Chippenham 20
Old Patesians 41, Banbury 7
Oxford Harlequins 41, Windsor 5
Reading 5, Swindon 25
Reading Abbey 18, RW Bassett 0
South West 1 East (top four & bottom four):
1, Old Patesians.P19, Pts 79
2, Maidenhead...P19, Pts 78
3, Newbury.........P19, Pts 76
4, Old Cents......P18, Pts 51
11, Windsor.......P18, Pts 33
12, Swindon......P19, Pts 33
13, Ox Harl........P18, Pts 32
14, Reading......P19, Pts 18
South West 1 East fixtures (Feb 18):
Banbury v Oxford Harlequins
Chippenham v Old Patesians
Grove v Old Centralians
Maidenhead v Newbury Blues
Swindon v Reading Abbey
Windsor v Reading
Witney v Royal Wootton Bassett
Other local results:
Marlow 75, Milton Keynes 0
Marlow stay top of Southern Counties North after one-sided success over Milton Keynes.
Phoenix 18, Risborough 14
Phoenix secured just the second victory of their BB&O Premier Division campaign, overcoming bottom-placed Risborough in what was a must-win encounter.
Hungerford 13, Slough 33
Slough are up to fourth in the BB&O Premier Division following an excellent win at third-placed Hungerford.
Chipping Norton v Farnham Royal
Chipping were awarded a walkover after Farnham Royal were unable to fulfil the fixture.
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