SWINDON Old Boys manager Martin Peaple thinks he has witnessed the champions elect of the Berks/Bucks & Oxon Premier after watching Stow-on-the-Wold see off his side 26-10 on Saturday.
Stow are only three points clear of Old Boys in second after their victory at a rain-soaked Pipers Way at the weekend, but Peaple saw enough in the visitors’ performance to convince him that they are destined to walk away with the title come April next year.
The Gloucestershire outfit took advantage of early Old Boys indiscipline to take a 16-0 lead into the break and held their own in difficult conditions after half-time to complete a convincing win.
Peaple was very impressed, saying: “It was a bit touch and go whether the game was going to be on in the morning with all the rain we’ve had, but as it turned out Stow dealt with the conditions a damn sight better than we did.
“They were stronger than us and they did the right thing which was put it up your jumper and keep it in the forwards.
“We really couldn’t cope with it. We had 20 minutes at the end of the game when we were a lot better but it wasn’t really enough to come back.
“It looked promising that we might get the bonus point and come within a score but unfortunately it didn’t happen and, to be fair to Stow, they were bigger, stronger and deserved to win.
“If they take that team to the other games then they’re going to win the league.
“I don’t think we’re going to catch Stow, I think Stow are going to win the league now unless they have some serious injury problems.
“They’re a big, strong team and they’re looking okay at the moment.”
Elsewhere, Wootton Bassett slipped to their third successive defeat as they lost 26-5 at Corsham in Southern Counties South.
In the same division, Supermarine remain pointless after being thumped 53-15 at fourth-placed Dorchester.
Marlborough won 27-10 at Calne in Dorset & Wilts 1 North, where Minety beat Avonvale 24-7 and Swindon 2nds lost 26-0 at Pewsey Vale.
Cricklade routed Bath Saracens 78-8 in Dorset & Wilts 2 North, while Fairford saw off Melksham 2nds 29-3.