RUGBY UNION: Thomas seals attritional clash

8:00am Tuesday 21st January 2014

SOUTH WEST 1 EAST

WITNEY pulled nine points clear of the relegation zone after edging out Devizes 9-7 at Hailey Road.

Three penalties from fly half Phil Thomas proved enough to seal an attritional clash.

A competitive first half ended scoreless, although Devizes had a man sin-binned after some strong Witney pressure.

Thomas kicked the hosts ahead five minutes into the second period.

Devizes hit back when their impressive fly half Rory Brown sped through a gap to score and convert his own try.

Thomas’s second penalty made it 7-6 and more pressure saw another Devizes player yellow-carded.

A third Thomas penalty sealed it, although Witney were pushing for a try at the end.

Grove had to battle hard to earn a 17-17 draw in a lacklustre match at Cheltenham.

The visitors were missing a number of regulars and had head coach Craig Burrows as an unused replacement.

Fly half Roger Sevier kicked Grove ahead with a penalty from his own half, but Cheltenham replied with a converted interception try.

Sevier slotted a second penalty after a home centre was sin-binned.

In the second half, Grove scrum half Joe Chivers was yellow-carded for coming in at the side.

Cheltenham then scored a pushover try, the conversion making it 14-6.

Grove raised their game, with Sevier kicking a third penalty, but the hosts replied in kind.

A break led by wing Guy Nicholl ended with prop James Eckert going over for a Grove try.

Nicholl had a try disallowed after centre Tom Clipsham was ruled to have put a foot in touch.

Grove passed up two kickable penalties as they sought a winning try, but with no time left, Sevier slotted a third to equalise.

Leaders Oxford Harlequins saw their match at Swindon postponed due to a waterlogged pitch.

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