In the preceding two weeks’ training, Brackley worked hard on the structure of their defence and on Saturday it showed.
Away to an unbeaten Daventry side who had won four on the bounce in Midlands 3 East (South), Brackley pressurised the home team’s three-quarter line from the off and were more than a match for Daventry’s heavier forwards for much of the game. Only in the last quarter did Daventry’s pack gain the ascendancy, and as the visitors’ legs began to tire, the home side added a converted try to their first half touchdown to deny Brackley a well-deserved losing bonus point.
In an evenly contested first half, play was largely contained within the area bounded by the 22-metre lines as solid defensive efforts from both teams ensured that neither red zone was seriously threatened. Though Brackley had the upper hand in the set-scrums, driving Daventry off the ball on more than one occasion, they were unable to press home that advantage and were caught off-guard two minutes before the interval when Daventry launched an attack on the left wing from inside their own half and took a five point lead with an unconverted try in the corner.
The pattern of play continued well into the second half, with intriguing contests developing at half-back and in midfield, but as the match wore on, the pendulum slowly began to swing in Daventry’s favour. Yet even as their pack gradually gained the upper hand, Brackley still managed to disrupt the rhythm of the opposing back line and as the clock ticked down, it looked as though the match would be decided by Daventry’s first-half score. But in a final flourish, Daventry created an overlap on the right, dragging Brackley’s defence across field and opening up a gap to allow their inside centre a clear run to the posts, then safely added the conversion.
Brackley’s league campaign continues next week at home to Deepings who narrowly overcame Bedford Swifts on Saturday. Deepings are sitting two above Brackley in sixth place in Midlands 3 East (South).