Narrow Win Closes-Out Bulls Season!
Banbury Bulls closed-out the season with a 17-15 win, over-turning the away loss to Witney on the opening day of the season. A brace of tries from Freddie Cracknell and one from Giles Sarr was enough to clinch the game for the Bulls.
Bodicote Park – Saturday 22nd April 2017
Match report by Chris Phillips
A beautifully sunny afternoon, and a hard quick pitch, made for a fast paced game which bordered on frantic at times. It was the visitors who were first on the score board. Banbury failed to deal with the opening kick off and found themselves under immediate pressure. Managing to deflect Witney’s attacks for only so long, the pressure final told as a penalty was conceded and converted, 0-3.
The Bulls reply was a delightful one. After working phases and retaining the ball, fly half Sam Stoop sent a kick diagonally over the Witney defence with a deft touch. Flying winger Freddie Cracknell (pictured in Cup Final action) galloped onto the ball and with an even defter touch nudged the ball down the touchline without breaking stride. Never looking like he would loose the foot race, Cracknell dotted the ball down but Joe Mills was unable to convert. 5-3 to Banbury and the two players with the most ridiculous hair cuts in the team combined well….
Witney replied to this in kind. Getting the ball to the Banbury 22, centre Clark stepped his way through the Banbury defence and cantered in for the try. Failing to convert the score himself, after a successful Bulls charge-down, the score stood at 5-8.
The to and fro continued as Banbury scored next to regain the lead. Witney halted a driving maul inside their 22, but this enabled Stoop to pull some more strings. Engineering forward runners to his outside, he threaded the ball to Giles Sarr who got ball in some space and was able to go under the posts untouched. Mills on target with this conversion took the score to 12-8, and this is how it stayed until the break.
The second half continued the same tone as the first, albeit with no scores until the hour mark, as both teams had attacks repelled and their opponents took charge. Banbury broke the second half stalemate as veteran centre Matt Goode cut a good line back towards a ruck and broke through. He created enough space to be able to slip the ball to the flying mullet-man, and Cracknell sped the last 20m to cross the line for his second and Banbury’s final try of the season. 17-8
With the last play of the game Witney had a scrum in a very dangerous position in Banbury’s 22. A solid effort from their pack twisted the Bulls back row away from the point of attack, allowing scrum half Campbell to dart over the line and between the posts. A successful conversion took the final score to 17-15.
This final home win capped a good season for Banbury, securing 6th place in the league in a promotions season and retaining the Oxfordshire Knockout Cup as well. On behalf of all the players and coaches I would like to thank all the supporters for their backing throughout the season, it is really appreciated by all.