WITNEY overcame Storm Brian and a stubborn Grove side to edge a close encounter 27-22 at Cane Lane.

Diagonal winds disrupted much of the play in the South West 1 East contest, but the home side, in their first game under returning head coach Craig Burrows, enjoyed the early territory.

They took a 10-0 lead thanks to a try from Joe Bellinger, converted by James Monks, who had kicked an earlier penalty against his former club.

But five minutes of Grove indiscipline led to Witney replying.

They were penalised six times, before the referee awarded a penalty try, which was converted by Arron Lambourne.

Witney went on to lead 17-10 after the break, thanks to a Ben Fisk try. Lambourne, who also kicked a penalty, adding the extras.

Grove hit back, thanks to Guy Nicholl’s score, converted by Monks.

But Witney responded, when the hosts struggled to collect a high ball and Gareth Campbell touched down. Lambourne converted to make it 27-17.

An unconverted Jack Horrocks breakaway try brought Grove to within five points. But they were forced to settle for a losing bonus point.

A brilliant hat-trick of tries from debutant full back Charlie Craig helped Oxford Harlequins win

27-17 at home to Wimborne

After opening the scoring with a sparkling score, Craig then went on a 50-metre jinking run and beat four defenders to touch down in the corner to make it 13-0, Sam Watkinson having kicked a penalty.

After the teams swapped penalties, Craig completed a memorable hat-trick to make it 21-3.

Wimborne replied with tries from Jack Newton and Ryan Maidment, who converted both, but Watkinson took his penalty tally to four to seal a great win for Quins.

Banbury slipped to their first defeat of the season when they went down 15-0 in their top-of-the table match away to Old Patesians.

Playing into the driving rain in the first half, Banbury trailed 15-0 at the break to two close range tries from flanker Scott Alldritt tries, plus a conversion and penalty by James Aherne.

Banbury were hopeful of pulling that back in the second half, but their tactics of going for tries foundered on a solid home defence and they failed to score a point.

Bicester went down 25-7 away to Old Centralians.

Playing with the wind, the hosts built up a 17-0 advantage by the interval thanks to tries from No 8 Lewis Cameron, flanker Craig Balinger and fly half Wayne Mulhern, plus a conversion by Shay Morgan.

When Bicester replied with a try from scrum half Craig Smith, converted by Sam Richardson, just after half-time, they had hopes of victory.

But the Centralians defence held firm and they sealed the result with Cameron's second try and a Morgan penalty.