BASINGSTOKE RFC moved eight points clear of the National League Three London relegation zone after a 17-17 draw with CS Rugby on Saturday.

In testing conditions due to a lot of overnight rain, the deadlock was not broken until the 21 minute mark, when a break by the visitors’ Tom Mitchell allowed Tom McArthur to score. Mike Ward added the conversion from in front of the posts for a 7-0 lead.

The home side hopes of a comeback suffered a set-back, when Toby Salmon was harshly yellow carded for a tip tackle.

Soon after, the introduction of fly-half Adam Davis from the bench soon proved to be an inspired move and from a line-out on the five metre line Gavin Dampies fed Rudi Kochanowski to score. From wide on the touchline Davies missed a very tricky conversion.

’Stoke then took the lead four minutes later, even if they still only had 14 men, as Matt Guilfoyle ran down the left wing and scored under the post. Davies kicked the extras and the home side took to the dressing room a 12-7 lead at half-time.

Just three minutes after the break, CS narrowed the advantage as Ward kicked over a penalty.

’Stoke replied and extended their lead, as David Byett went over in the corner after good pressure.

Once again a difficult conversion wide on the touchline was missed by Davies.

CS hit back with their own try as Jon Webber scored and Ward converted to level things 17-17.

The visitors enjoyed some good pressure, but ’Stoke defended to a man and kept them out.

With five minutes left, Ward looked set to give CS the lead, with a kickable penalty, but he put it wide of the posts.

Then in the final minute of the game, the same player went for a drop goal to win the match, but again he missed the target as it finished 17-17.

’Stoke now have a week off and return to action with a trip to Hertford on March 1.