Southern Counties North

GROVE maintained their promotion push with a 31-16 home victory over 14-man Drifters.

The visitors, who had flanker Matt White sent off after picking up a second yellow card in the second half, took the lead with a Mark Bannister penalty.

Two penalties from Grove’s Roger Sevier were followed by another from Bannister, while home wing Harry Carr was sin-binned.

Tries from fly half Dave Maryon and wing Guy Nicholl, plus a Carr penalty put Grove 19-6 up, but Bannister slotted a penalty and converted a try from Alex Rankin.

Replacement prop Martyn Walsh was driven over before White’s red card.

Sevier sidesteped through for the bonus-point try, which was converted by Carr.

Alchester battled back to earn a point in a 23-17 defeat at leaders Reading Abbey.

A Steve Willis try and Joe Murphy’s penalty put Abbey 8-0 up and they added a second try from Jules Greenaway with Alchester lock Nick Kelly in the sin bin.

Right wing Andy Blacklock’s try reduced the arrears to 13-5 at half-time.

Alchester had No 8 Joe McEneaney and captain Adam Thompson yellow-carded before Arron Ross scored the hosts’ third try.

Abbey had Danny Pawlett sin-binned, but still scored again through Sam Hallett.

In the last five minutes, tries from centre Matt Flegg and scrum half Matt Swales, converted by fly half Tom Miles, gave Alchester a losing bonus point.

Wallingford were left frustrated by a 25-21 defeat at lowly Tadley.

They began strongly with centre Ralph Smith setting up full back Henry Venners to steam in for the opening try.

Fly half Oli Henderson converted Venners’s effort and a second try from Smith, who linked well with centre partner, captain Pete Holton, to make it 14-0 inside ten minutes.

Tadley then took control with 25 unanswered points from four tries, a conversion and a penalty.

Wallingford sealed a losing bonus point late on when Henderson scored and converted following Smith’s break.

But they were left to rue an inconsistent display.