Phoenix travelled to Princes Risborough with the unenviable task of seeking only their second win of the season, which could if other results went their way succeed in maintaining their presence in the BB&O Premier Division. In the event Hungerford did their bit by beating Littlemore who also lost 5 points for defaulting on a match earlier in the season but Phoenix came up short as Risborough triumphed in the final shootout. Indeed just a single point would have lifted Phoenix off the bottom spot.
Phoenix took the advantage of the quite severe slope and a strongish wind in the first half and started brightly with a direct catch from their own kick-off by Watkinson followed by some excellent recycling through their pack, switching across field and ended with a Nigel Coltman
try in the corner after just a few minutes of the match. Risborough had seen nothing of the ball. Again Phoenix put Risborough under pressure with Duncan Wardle
galloping at them from no. 8. Phoenix elected to put a kickable penalty into the corner and continued their onslaught on the Risborough line. A second kickable penalty again went into touch and this time Phoenix failed to gain possession from their own lineout and Risborough put them back on their heels. Phoenix failed to gather the ball in defence and Risborough were onto them quickly. Dithering in defence and a hurried Phoenix pass as they ran the ball from their own 22 was intercepted and Risborough crossed half way out on the right to level the scores at 5 points a piece. The initial very rewarding Phoenix onslaught became a distant memory as Risborough fought back strongly and it was only some good defensive work by the Phoenix pack that kept them out. Things got worse for Phoenix when Risborough slotted a penalty to take the lead but fortunately for the visitors, they missed with two other attempts. However, Coltman struck back for Phoenix on the half hour with a penalty goal and when his second penalty kick from halfway soared between the posts, Phoenix felt a little more happy with an 11 points to 8 lead. But it was Risborough who ended the first half in the ascendant when Phoenix failed to gather the ball from the restart and spent the remainder of the half in defence. Ominous signs for Phoenix were that their scrummage was showing signs of beginning to feel the strain, losing ball against the head. Their lineout however was performing well.
Risborough lost not time at all in getting their noses back in front when the second half got under way. An error in defence gave the advantage to Risborough and their pack recycled their way over between the Phoenix posts. The conversion restored the lead for Risborough at 15 points to 11. But Phoenix kept in touch through a Coltman penalty goal.
The Risborough pack then bludgeoned their way over, making use of the slope with some good forward driving in the lowest corner of the field, benefiting from their clear game plan to pin Phoenix into this corner at every opportunity. The conversion crucially added the extras before Bradley Coomber
at centre for Phoenix broke clean through to cross half way out on the right bringing Phoenix to within 3 points of the Risborough score with just 15 minutes remaining. Coborough joined the fray for Phoenix replacing Watkinson and James Dixon
replaced Tim Morgan
as the game entered its final quarter. Phoenix again elected to kick for the corner rather than taking a shot at goal and compound things by losing the lineout and soon found themselves kicked back into their own 22. A penalty to Risborough in front of the Phoenix posts gave the home side a 6 point lead and as Phoenix threw everything at Risborough in the final minutes, Risborough took their final penalty attempts from in front of the posts, taking their final tally to 28 points.
Phoenix: K Manning, J Dean, E Dibb, N Wyncombe (Captain), N Coltman, I Watkinson, D Wardle, T Morgan; N Morgan, K Roach, B Coomber, J Richardson, R Innes, C Harrison, J Townsend.
Subs: J Dixon, J Willis, R Coborough