FREDDIE Cracknell scored two tries as Banbury beat Witney 17-15 in an entertaining clash at Bodicote Park.

Bulls’ victory ensured a top-six finish in their first year back in the sixth tier of English rugby since 2011.

As a result, Witney missed out on a third successive fourth place finish in South West 1 East.

Henry Lamb’s penalty put the west Oxfordshire side in front on six minutes, but Banbury made their first venture into the opposition half count.

Sam Stoop kicked diagonally over the heads of the Witney defenders and left wing Cracknell won the race to touch down for an unconverted try.

But the visitors retook the lead on 17 minutes when centre Matt Clarke converted his own try to make it 8-5.

It did not take long for Bulls to respond, though, as Giles Sarr collected Stoop’s long miss pass to charge over. Joe Mills converted to put Banbury 12-8 in front after 22 minutes.

Witney dominated territory and possession for the rest of the half, but could not reduce the deficit before the break.

Banbury extended their lead to 17-8 on 56 minutes when centre Matt Goode crossed the gain line and found Cracknell, who sped over from 30 metres.

Witney pushed for another score, but their efforts were only rewarded in extra time.

Gareth Campbell darted over after a scrum, Lamb converting, as they fell two points short.

Pete Boulton’s hat-trick of tries helped Oxford Harlequins make sure of their safety when picking up a bonus point in a 32-25 defeat at Old Patesians.

Ultimately, the reward for their four tries was not needed as Windsor lost to Chippenham, but it secured tenth place for Alan Hancock’s side.

Quins fell behind when James Aherne crossed, but responded on 12 minutes to lead 7-5.

Boulton crashed over and Huw Dimond converted.

The hosts went on to lead 13-7, thanks to James Gahan’s try and a penalty, but Dimond replied to reduce the arrears to three points at half time.

After 15 minutes of the second period, Quins led 20-13 when Boulton and George Tierney went over.

But Patesians hit back through Gahan’s score and a penalty try to make it 25-20.

Boulton’s third try levelled the match, but the hosts sealed victory with the last move when Duncan Spurrier crossed and Takuya Osaki added the extras.

Grove also stayed up, picking up a bonus point in a 24-21 defeat to Swindon.