Southern Counties North

Grove just held on to pip leaders Aylesbury 23-19 at Cane Lane and boost their own promotion hopes.

The hosts led 23-0 in the second half, and withstood an Aylesbury barrage to edge the contest.

Grove took an immediate lead with a penalty from scrum half Roger Sevier.

A great solo break by right wing Harry Carr, following full back Chris Clare’s high-ball catch and pass, saw him touch down a try under the posts, Sevier converting.

Grove seemed to be getting the better of the referee’s decisions and Sevier’s long-range penalty made it 13-0 via a post.

Aylesbury had a flanker sin-binned, but Grove couldn’t take full advantage.

Left wing Gareth Hudson was denied a try after being nudged into touch, but Sevier again slotted a penalty via a post following a high tackle.

Having also missed an earlier penalty by hitting a post, Sevier managed to do the same – his fourth successive kick against an upright – just before the break.

Grove centres Joe Bellinger and Ashley Lane combined to set up a try for Hudson, converted by scrum halfSevier.

Home fly half Nick Sevier twice threatened from deep, but Aylesbury’s heavier pack saw them back into the game.

Three tries and two conversions followed, while Grove flanker Guy Nicholl was yellow-carded, but the home defence held out at the end with lock Paul Miles to the fore.

Oxford battled hard in a 41-0 defeat at second-placed Swindon.

No 8 Alex Henks had a strong game from the back of the scrum.

Chipping Norton lost 16-0 at Tadley.