OXFORD Harlequins boosted their survival hopes, when earning a vital 12-10 victory over local rivals Grove in a tight contest at Marston Ferry Road.
Captain Allan Purchase’s try 16 minutes from time proved decisive as the hosts moved to within six points of safety in South West 1 East.
Their first of two games in hand over sides just above them, Quins desperately needed a victory.
But their early territory counted for nothing as fly half Mike Martin’s 17th-minute penalty put Grove 3-0 up.
Quins looked to respond quickly, but were held up on a number of occasions, while flanker Charlie Ward was sin-binned as their frustrations with referee Mark Trumper heightened.
However, the home side’s efforts paid off on the stroke of half-time as they won a line-out on the visitors’ five-metre line and prop Pete Boulton crashed over for an unconverted try.
Grove made a sprightly start to the second half and took a 10-5 lead on 49 minutes.
Quins full back Jack Robinson made a try-saving tackle to stop flanker Paul Miles five metres from the try line.
But the hosts were subsequently penalised, with winger Jack Crowe sin-binned, for not staying on his feet in the ruck, and visiting scrum half Joe Chilvers took a quick tap-penalty to dot down. Martin converted.
The next 15 minutes belonged to Quins, but Robinson’s try was disallowed as replacement forward Michael Ojo was adjudged to have given a forward pass.
They did breakthrough on 64 minutes, though, as second row Purchase spotted a gap, crashed through two tackles and stormed over.
Outside centre Ollie Jenner converted to make it 12-10.
Grove enjoyed more possession in the latter stages, but were starved of territory as Quins earned victory.