Banbury Too Goode For Bicester !
A dominating display from Banbury saw them win the Sam Miller Cup and get the 5 points against local rivals Bicester. A 2nd half hat-trick from Matt Goode and a brace of tries from George Grieve helped Banbury to a 68-12 victory at the DCS stadium.
DCS Stadium - Saturday 9th September 2017
Match report by Alex Inch, action photos by Simon Grieve.
It was good to see Banbury and Bicester competing for the Sam Miller memorial trophy for the first time since both clubs were competing in the same division back in the 1999/2000 season.
As the media team had predicted nice weather before the game it was no surprise to anyone when the game kicked off in dark rainy conditions. Banbury opened the scoring after 5 minutes, a quick switch of play caught the Bicester defence out. Nice hands from the Banbury backs released Joe Mills down the right before he slipped Tommy Gray into the corner. 6 tries in 3 games for the pacey winger. Ed Phillips missed the conversion attempt from the side-line but the Bulls had the early advantage 5-0.
Banbury extended their lead a couple minutes later. Jimmy Manley making the initial break running a nice line, bursting through the Bicester defence before a couple nice passes saw George Grieve dive over just to the left of the posts. An easy conversion for Ed Phillips and it was 12-0.
Tommy Gray looked like he had his second try of the game but the referee indicated he’d been held up over the try line. This didn’t hold back Banbury for long though. From the resulting 5 metre scrum Ed Philips made the initial dart before recycling to Chris Phillips who bundled his way over. 3 tries in 4 games for the big Number 8. Ed Phillips converted to put Banbury 19-0 up.
Banbury sealed a bonus point shortly before half time. Bicester saw themselves in the Banbury 22 but good counter rucking from Tommy Gray saw the ball pop out the back of a ruck. George Grieve was quickest to react to the loose ball, scooping the ball up and out sprinting 2 Bicester defenders to run nearly the full length of the pitch before touching down under the posts. All those pre-season sprints paying off. Ed Phillips added the extras to make it 26-0 at half time.
Head Coach Matt Goode brought himself on at half time and he was shortly on the scoresheet. A scrum in the Bicester 22 provided a good platform. Matt Goode ran a hard line and crashed his way through the Bicester defence, breaking a couple of tackles before touching down under the posts. Another simple conversion for Ed Phillips made it 33-0.
Banbury continued their strong start to the 2nd half. Pete Boulton had the Bicester defence back peddling. The ball was shipped left and Matt Goode popped a perfectly timed pass to Sam Stoop who ran in from 10 metres out. The pair using all their Twickenham experience to great effect. Ed Phillips converted again and Banbury held a commanding 40-0 lead.
After a penalty Banbury saw themselves with a lineout just inside the Bicester 22. Ian Isham found his target at the back of the lineout and great work from the forwards saw them pulling in more and more defenders to try and stop the Banbury pack. Ed Phillips took the ball from the back of the rolling maul and exploited the huge gaps the forwards had made, sneaking his way over just to the right of the posts. Ed Phillips converted his own try to make it 47-0.
An off the ball incident lead to a yellow for both sides. Bicester who worked hard the whole game were the ones to exploit the more open field. Some nice passing/offloading saw Bicester get their 1st try of the game. Christian Mann finding himself on the end of a nice Bicester move before touching down under the posts. An easy conversion made it 47-7.
Clearly buoyed by their 1st points of the game Bicester scored again a couple minutes later. Bicester kicked behind and won the footrace and despite some heroic defence to keep Bicester out, Dan Spencer was there to regather and run in unopposed in the right corner. Bicester missed the conversion but the score line was looking more respectable at 47-12.
Banbury responded magnificently though. A scrum just outside the Bicester 22 provided the perfect platform. Ed Phillips peeling right from the back of the scrum before popping a pass to Matt Goode who was running a lovely line. He sidestepped and crashed his way under the posts breaking several tackles on the way. The Head Coach leading by example. Ed Phillips added the extras and Banbury were back in control 54-12.
Both sides were now back up to a full complement of players. In a near repeat of the previous try a scrum near the halfway line provided a decent platform. Ed Phillips getting the ball out wide before Matt Goode smashed his way through the Bicester line. Matt Goode stepped the last man and touched down wide to the left to complete his 2nd half hat-trick. Ed Phillips converted from a tight angle to make it 61-12.
The Bulls still had time for one more try before the full-time whistle. Ed Phillips took a quick penalty to have the Bicester defence back tracking. The ball was then shipped wide to Freddie Cracknell who exploited the tiring Bicester defence to cut his way through for another Banbury try. Ed Phillips made it a fantastic day with the boot and converted another to make it 68-12 at the full-time whistle. 18 points from the boot and a try was enough to see Ed Phillips awarded Man of the Match.
Sam Miller’s son Mark Miller presented the Bulls with the Sam Miller Cup on the pitch after the final whistle. A game which despite being a local derby was played in the right spirit.
Speaking to Head Coach Matt Goode after the game about Banbury’s perfect start: “5 points from both games is great an exactly what we’ve hoped for. Next week is a different challenge but we’ll be working at that on training on Tuesday. I’m delighted at scoring over 60 points but there’s still things we really need to work on”
Talking about his 2nd half hat-trick: “I think the boys tired them out in the 1st half and left me some space. It’s always nice to score but the teams done well and created that space for me.”
Talking about individual performances: “Some of the boys played really, really well. Ed Phillips played great but I thought our young lad Kallum Dixey was immense. The forwards gave us real go forward but I’d have said Kallum Dixey for Man of the Match.....”
Try scorers: Matt Goode (3) George Grieve (2) Tommy Gray, Chris Phillips, Sam Stoop, Ed Phillips, Freddie Cracknell.
15. Joe Mills (Sponsored by: DTC International)
14. Tommy Gray
13. George Grieve
12. Jimmy Manley
11. Freddie Cracknell
10. Sam Stoop (Sponsored by: H Colegrave & Son)
9. Ed Phillips (Sponsored by: P Montanaro – ITSM Consultancy)
1. Ian Isham (Sponsored by: Fieldcraft)
2. Giles Saar (Sponsored by: Jamie Briggs Removals & Storage)
3. Pete Boulton
4. Matt Brock
5. Kallum Dixey
6. Jacob Mills
7. Angus Johnson
8. Chris Phillips
16. Steven Potter
17. Nick Pratt
18. Matt Goode (Sponsored by: Hook Norton Crop Consultancy)