DEVIZES claimed a first Southern Counties South victory since October with a battling 10-0 success at home to Swindon College Old Boys on Saturday.

Gale force winds, heavy rain and chilly temperatures blighted the contest, but Devizes looked to show their intent from the off and were soon camped in College territory.

Despite some excellent carries by the forwards, the visitors defended well to keep out the initial onslaught.

The Saddlebacks lost hooker Seb Hutchings to an ankle injury, but they continued to push forward after capitalising on College handling errors.

A number of strong carries saw the home forwards inch their way towards the tryline and it was George Starr who bundled over to the delight of the crowd. Skipper Rory Brown was narrowly off-target with the kick in tough conditions.

Shortly afterwards, Devizes went back on the attack and excellent handling nearly put Steve McCraith over in the corner, only for the ball to be knocked on.

The home side were then held up over the try line as College stayed in the game until the break, with the Saddlebacks’ advantage only 5-0.

Further injuries hit Devizes during the interval as prop Toby Randall departed, but almost immediately from the restart, College suffered a setback too as they talisman and skipper Gareth Davis to concussion.

Playing with the wind in the second period, the Saddlebacks capitalised and had the majority of possession and territory.

Errors were inevitable given the weather and the state of the pitch, but Devizes tended to deal with the conditions better and from a number of close-range drives in the College 22, the ball was finally grounded, with Rhys Harries the man to come up with the ball.

The visitors did not have much of an opportunity to respond, and Devizes again looked the more likely to bag additional scores before the final whistle, with Scott Martin making an excellent break before being felled with one defender to beat as the home side close out a narrow but deserved win to climb to sixth in the table.

That result has allowed Devizes to leapfrog county rivals Corsham in the table after they had to settle for a losing bonus point after going down 16-13 to Thatcham on home turf.

Finally, bottom side Bradford on Avon have reached Christmas without a win to their name following a 24-7 defeat at home to third-placed Walcot.