A MISSED drop kick in the final few minutes ensured Marlborough’s hopes of poaching a South West One East play-off spot remain on track, after they held on to defeat struggling Witney 29-27 at The Common.

With just one win from their four games building up to Saturday’s tie, Witney entered the contest as underdogs.

But that status status counted for little in the opening exchanges as a lineout close to the corner resulted in the game’s first try, which couldn’t be converted by the visitors.

Marlborough responded and quickly levelled the game with 23 minutes played. A loose ball following a scrum found its way to Jake Williams, who scored neatly – Harry Jackson failed to kick the conversion.

Despite the hosts continuing to press forwards, Witney soon found themselves 12 points up.

A try on 32 minutes helped re-establish their five-point lead before a converted try with one minute remaining in the opening half put them 12 points ahead at the break.

Half time came at the right time for Marlborough, who quickly asserted their dominance on the second half as Anthony Maka crossed over directly from the visitors’ kick-off.

Jackson’s kick was again struck wide, Witney now leading 10-17.

Sustained pressure helped the visitors’ tally hit 20 points as they kicked a penalty, but Ratu Vuira was on hand to register Marlborough’s third try two minutes after Witney’s successful penalty kick.

For the third time, Jackson’s conversion kick was direction wide as Witney remained in front.

Perhaps to the relief of Jackson, Marlborough then took the lead as Maka registered his second try – this time Jackson converted to put the hosts 22-20 ahead.

Harry Jackson seemingly put the game beyond Witney’s reach with five minutes remaining when he crossed the whitewash, extending Marlborough’s lead to seven points.

But Witney were far from beaten. They added a try two minutes after the re-start before a drop kick attempt drifted fractionally wide with the clock past 80 minutes – earning Marlborough a dramatic win.

Marlborough’s latest success means they now sit fourth in the south west’s second tier - five points short of play-off occupants Old Centralians.

They face unbeaten Newbury Blues at The Common this weekend (2.30pm).

In other results, Alan Low’s Royal Wootton Bassett defeated Wimborne 17-10.

Two early sin-bins for Wimborne saw Bassett establish a 10-point lead at the end of the first-half.

A second Bassett try followed after half-time before a converted try and a penalty to Wimborne resulted in the game ending 17-10.

Chippenham and Trowbridge were less fortunate though as they slipped up on the road.

Chippenham were beaten 38-17 away at unbeaten leaders Newbury Blues, while Trowbridge suffered a narrow 14-10 loss on their trip to county rivals Salisbury.