ROYAL Wootton Bassett were unable to follow up their morale-boosting victory over Sutton & Epsom after going down 40-21 away at Bracknell last weekend.

The Regional One South Central basement club travelled to Berkshire full of optimism after their first win of the season but soon found themselves a converted try behind after a speculative high ball found uncertainty in the visitors’ back line. A Bracknell attacker jumped on the loose ball and fed it wide, where the simplest of tries was scored.

Bassett replied shortly after when a forward-driven scrum resulted in the ball being fired wide for Dan Hale to outpace the defence, but a powerful solo run following a clearance saw the hosts go back in front at 14-7.

The game continued to swing back and forwards, and in the 22nd minute Bassett hauled themselves level. A quick tap penalty from Kyle Lovell allowed him to push forward and catch Bracknell’s defence on the back foot. After just being held up, a neat flick gave Harry Daynes the opportunity to crash over.

In the 34th minute, a Bracknell attack proved to be the most controversial of the match. Twenty metres out, full back Sam Williams saw yellow for a deliberate knock forward, but the official had clearly seen enough to award the penalty try.

Despite the setback, Alan Low’s side battled on to level for the third time in the match. An attacking lineout saw a sequence of drives held up by a determined defence. But eventually, prop Jake O’Neill was able to cross the whitewash before Troy Cusack added the conversion.

But at the start of the second half, momentum swung back Bracknell’s way – a direction from which it never returned. A quickly-taken tap penalty resulted in the home side’s forwards going over in the corner, and Bracknell repeated the trick moments later in the same area of the pitch following a short-range lineout.

With Bassett chasing a bonus point – courtesy of a fourth try – the inevitable happened and Bracknell added their third try of the second half to seal the result.

Elsewhere, in Regional Two South Central, Marlborough continued their assault towards the title with a 42-5 victory at home to Witney on The Common. Meanwhile, Swindon – who are second bottom in the 12-team league – suffered a 34-12 defeat away to Newbury Blues.

In Counties One Southern North, Swindon College Old Boys claimed their second victory of the season courtesy of a surprise 28-24 success at home to Wallingford.