STOW-on-the-Wold Rugby Club retained top spot with a bonus-point 31-7 win over Alchester.

But the Cotswold high-fliers were slightly disappointed with their performance in Southern Counties North.

Too many stray passes and wrong options lost several more try-scoring opportunities.

But Stow made the perfect start as a loose ball was hacked through by Geoff Flather, who won the race to open the scoring.

Then a penalty was kicked to the corner and the ball secured from the line-out with Craig Chapman appearing from the maul to chalk up the try.

Alex Kelley converted but Stow struggled up-front where Alchester’s forwards slowed the ball down.

However, more Stow pressure told just before the break as a quick penalty resulted in prop Dan Salvage crashing over. Kelley hit the post with the conversion, which left Stow with a 17-point lead at the break.

The second-half was similar as Stow struggled to break down a dogged defence before the bonus point and try of the day arrived.

Chapman’s break through the middle was halted but Ben Ullmer scored under the posts, leaving Kelley a simple conversion.

Alchester came back with their best spell and bagged a deserved converted forwards try.

However, Stow’s backs gained territory before Chris Powseland scored their final try with Kelley converting.

But Stow, who are two points ahead of High Wycombe at the top, must play better at fifth-placed Aylesbury on Saturday.

Stow seconds beat Minchenhapmton 43-8.

Meanwhile, Chipping Norton crashed 70-5 at unbeaten leaders Reading Abbey in the Berks/Bucks and Oxon Premier Division.

Shipston-on-Stour slipped 28-22 at home to mid-table rivals Cheltenham North in Midlands Three West (South).