RUGBY UNION: Grove finish the year on a high

Herald Series: James Eckert scored one of Grove's tries James Eckert scored one of Grove's tries

Grove ended 2013 on a high with a 38-12 home victory over Towcestrians in South West 1 East on Saturday.

The hosts, who climbed to seventh, led 24-12 at half-time, despite playing into the teeth of the wind.

Hooker Steve Dixey, debutant scrum half Joe Chivers, centre Tom Clipsham and prop James Eckert all went over for Grove before the break, with full back Roger Sevier converting two.

Grove fly half Dave John-son and a Towcestrians replacement were yellow-carded.

The visitors’ points came via two tries and a conversion.

Grove had Joe Bellinger sin-binned for a late tackle, but a try from wing Harry Carr and three Sevier penalties sealed the win.

Towcestrians’ full back was sent off after having his yellow card upgraded to red for abusing the referee.

Wallingford had to be content with an exciting 24-24 draw at Reading Abbey in Southern Counties North.

Prop Antony Marris, who had returned from the sin-bin, scored Wallingford’s opening try.

Fly half Joe Murphy notched the first of a try treble before Abbey’s Mark Tolland was sin-binned.

Wallingford centre Ralph Smith sliced through to touch down and scrum half Phil Dawes converted.

Home flanker Fungai Mut-epfa was driven over.

After the break, lock Carl Tappin crashed over for 17-10, but Murphy bagged a superb solo try, which he converted to equalise.

No 8 Jermaine Webster forced his way over for Wallingford and Dawes converted.

Murphy converted his hat-trick try to level again.

Josh Witts’s last-minute penalty earned Didcot a dramatic 31-29 home victory against Risborough to go third in the Berks Bucks & Oxon Championship table.

Didcot’s fifth win in a row came courtesy of tries from Sam Lacy, Greg Arthy, Ronnie Booth and Andy Pynegar, but they trailed 29-28 late on.

Witts struck the winning kick to add to an earlier penalty and conversion.

Two tries from centre Lee Ruddle helped Faringdon win 27-5 at home to basement boys Kingsclere.

Prop Brian Doyle also went over for the hosts, with Darren Clark converting all three tries and two penalties.

Leaders Abingdon marched on with a 27-5 victory at Aldermaston.

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