Two tries for Rich Leighton see Cricklade beat Sutton Benger

First published in Sport

Dorset & Wilts Div 2 North.

Sutton Benger 20 Cricklade 23.

CRICKLADE maintained the pressure on top-of-the-table Fairford with a last-gasp victory at Sutton Benger.

In the early stages, such a result seemed unlikely as a quick and mobile home team pulled the normally well-drilled Cricklade defence all over the place.

Benger exploited holes in the ragged Cricklade rearguard to secure their first try of the half.

Although Cricklade fought back, turnovers were numerous and from one such situation Benger ran in another try against sparse opposition.

Cricklade continued to press, and after a tap penalty and blind side run, they found Rich Leighton free and clear. Stand-in kicker Nick Bond missed the conversion but slotted a penalty moments later.

Despite having the advantage of the slope in the second half, Cricklade spent much of their time defending and were forced to concede a number of kickable penalties. Benger got the first but missed the second, a miss which they would later regret.

Cricklade kept plugging away, but just weren't firing on all cylinders. Matt Blackburn, however, came up in the right place at the right time to close the gap and Bond leveled it with his kick.

Buoyed by being on equal terms despite not playing well, Cricklade pressed harder and were rewarded with a penalty, which Bond kicked.

Moments later, however, Bond was sin-binned for needlessly throwing a punch, and his absence let Benger back into the game as they got their noses back in front with a try following a fumbled catch.

With both sides hyped up, Benger now lost a man to the sin bin themselves and Cricklade started to flow.

Blackburn, apparently through for his second try, was cruelly floored by a swinging elbow that resulted in a red card.

Bond crucially missed the kick and the game looked to be all over, but from the long kick out, Cricklade secured possession and poured forward in a last throw of the dice. They overwhelmed the Benger defence and managed to create an overlap on the right for Leighton to exploit and get his second try – and more importantly secure the win.

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