PHOENIX completed a hat-trick of wins in the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Championship after a 19-17 victory away at Berkshire Shire Hall on Saturday.

It is the first time the Taplow-based club have racked up a treble of wins since October and leaves them in fifth position in the league table ahead of the end-of-season play-offs.

Phoenix director of rugby Anthony Golder told the Observer: “We went into the game on a high with back-to-back wins against two of the sides that our placed above us in the league, Aldermaston and Chipping Norton.

“The game was a well-fought battle in extremely cold conditions, and we were forced to make several changes to our regular side.

“From the kick-off we took the game to Berkshire and pressed hard for an early score, and were awarded a penalty to put us into and early lead.

“But, as the game progressed, we allowed them to get themselves into the game and press hard for a score of there own.

“We battled really hard against a well-drilled and coached Berkshire side, but the team stayed strong and defended very well, and the more experienced players led from the front.

“Berkshire put up a fine performance, but I never felt we were going to let the game drift away from us. We stuck to our gameplan and came away with the win.

“It was a game that was played in extreme cold conditions, and I was proud of the lads for there commitment and desire to win.”

Golding added: “Our aim and intentions this season was to develop a more young first team. During the summer we focused on our fitness, a new structure and new game plans.

“We as a club have attracted several young players who fitted in well to what we wanted to achieve.

“The start of the season didn’t start to well for us with a heavy loss against Chipping Norton, but as the weeks progressed the team got stronger, all wanting to play together and be part of the team.

“The season has been very successful and gives us something to build on for next year and step up a level to compete with the top teams in this league.

He continued: "We go into the play-offs against the top four sides in Oxford, Aldermaston, Chipping Norton and Princess Risbrough. All of these teams we can competed with, if we've got our playing heads on.

"But, what ever the outcome, I'm very happy with the way things have gone in the first team this season. Beating two of the top four sides shows how far this team has come in just one season."

Phoenix begin their play-off campaign with a trip to promotion-chasing Oxford this Saturday (2.30pm).

Golding: "A trip away to Oxford this weekend will be another tough game. They're very well drilled side and have some very good players."

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