PROMOTION-CHASING Banbury dug deep to beat Grove 16-10 at Cane Lane.

Scrum half Ed Phillips scored all the points for the Bulls in a below-par South West 1 East clash.

But hosts Grove, who defied their lowly league position, would have claimed victory, but for a lack of composure in front of the try-line.

The south Oxfordshire side deservedly took a 5-0 lead when Steve Dixey went over following a catch and drive.

  • Grove head coach Craig Burrows: "We had some very good chances in the last ten minutes."

Conceding early on seemed to wake Banbury up and they hit back through two Phillips penalties.

The half back then burrowed over and converted his own try as Bulls led 13-5 after 33 minutes.

Grove responded well, though, and Benny Davies caught Luke Matthews’s delightful kick over the top to cross in the corner for an unconverted score.

A Phillips penalty saw Banbury take a 16-10 lead after 51 minutes.

However, Grove went on to enjoy more territory and despite having a man advantage after Nick Pratt was sin-binned, they could not force their way over the try-line.

Their golden chance came late on, as Joe Chilvers intercepted but Joe Bellinger was stopped by Jimmy Manley’s brilliant try-saving tackle.

Banbury held on to secure victory, but Grove knew it was an opportunity missed.

Herald Series:

  • Grove winger Benny Davies gets the better of his opposite number Josh Deegan to cross in the corner after collecting a fine kick from Luke Matthews Picture: Ric Mellis

Fotu Latu scored a hat-trick of tries to help Oxford Harlequins beat Salisbury 28-19.

The Wiltshire visitors took the lead, thanks to Oliver Bowden’s breakaway try, converted by Jack Sheldrake.

Quins hit back to go 14-7 in front, thanks to two Latu tries.

But their lead was cut to two points at half-time after Dan Hammond crossed for Salisbury.

Ramez Farahani’s converted try put Quins back in control, before Latu crossed for his third.

Jack Wiggins, who converted all four tries, added the extras to make it 28-12 on 64 minutes.

Salisbury’s Hammond went over, Sheldrake converting, in the last play, but Quins had already done enough.

Witney fought back from an 18-point deficit to edge Royal Wootton Bassett 31-29 away from home.

The hosts took the lead when Phil Bardwell crossed, Tom Fieldsend converting.

Phil Thomas kicked a penalty for Witney, but Bassett led 14-3 after Ieuan Clements went over and Fieldsend, who also slotted a penalty, added the extras.

Gareth Campbell’s try for Witney reduced the deficit.

However, they trailed 22-8 at the break after Elye Darragh went over for the hosts.

A Thomas penalty gave the visitors hope, but Bassett went 29-11 up, thanks to Clements’s try, Robert Cooper converting.

Witney piled on the pressure and Rhys Morgan crossed for an unconverted try on 56 minutes.

The host had a man sent to the sin-bin and Dan Boshell went over, Thomas converting, to make it 29-23.

Matt Clarke then scored to cut the gap to one point, before Thomas kicked a 76th-minute penalty to win it for Witney.

Bicester slipped to the bottom of the table after a heavy 85-12 defeat at Chippenham.

Will Waddington (2), Brad Doggett (2) and Andy Rossiter all went over in the first half.

Will Anns crossed for an unconverted try for Bicester.

But Jacob Unwin (2), Tom Fogerty, Doggett (2) and Charlie Palmer dived over after the break for the hosts.

Lewis Surrey converted six tires and Dan Wainwright four.

Bicester scored another try in the second half through Jack Horwood, Dan Spencer converting.