WITNEY produced a stunning comeback to beat Oxford Harlequins 35-34 – but were relegated on a dramatic day.

The Oxfordshire side needed to win in South West 1 East and hope Trowbridge failed to pick up a bonus-point victory.

But the Wiltshire side earned a last-gasp success themselves, beating Beaconsfield 35-34 to remain a now unassailable six points clear of the drop zone with one game remaining.

It means Witney’s nine-year stay in the sixth tier of English rugby comes to an end.

Their relegation looked a certainty after a torrid first half at Quins, which saw them trail 24-7 at the break.

Johnnie Henderson’s score, converted by Toni Turetta, put the hosts in front, before Witney were awarded a penalty try.

Quins dominated the rest of the half, with Henderson and Freddie Myatt going over, Turetta, who also kicked a penalty, converting both.

Another penalty try helped Witney reduce the arrears before Joe Turberville crossed, Ted Landray adding the extras, to make it 24-21.

However, Quins looked to put the match out of reach, when Turetta converted Martin Nutt’s try and kicked a penalty to put the hosts 34-21 ahead with six minutes of normal time to play.

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  • Martin Nutt's try made it 31-21 to Oxford Harlequins Picture: Ric Mellis

But Witney pulled off a sensational comeback as 11 minutes of injury-time ensued.

Wayne Caffekey surged over, Arron Lambourne converting, before Tom Gaffney crossed to make it 34-33.

Lambourne added the extras in front of the posts to earn victory, but it proved in vain.

Banbury kept their play-off hopes alive with a 38-14 win at Wimborne.

It means the race for second goes down to the wire, with Bulls trailing Old Centralians by three points.

Tries from Dan Brady (2), Tommy Gray and Duncan Leese, Ed Phillips converting, saw Banbury lead 28-7.

Ryan Maidment had crossed for Wimborne, Joel Mariner converting.

Dylan Case’s try, Mariner adding the extras, cut Banbury’s lead after the break.

But Bulls eased to victory when Phillips converted Pete Boulton’s score and kicked a late penalty.


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