Banbury Edge Thriller By One Point !
Banbury Bulls overcame a poor 1st half performance to produce a superb comeback win against Chippenham. Tries from Freddie Cracknell, Ed Phillips, Tommy Gray and Jimmy Manley helped Banbury to a 34-35 victory.
Allington Fields, Frogwell – Saturday 16th September 2017
Match report by Alex Inch
Banbury’s 1st away game of the season was the long trip to Chippenham. After a strong 78-7 win on the opening game of the season, Chippenham had lost by a single point to Wimborne, 22-21 last weekend. 7 of Chippenham’s 10 wins came at home last season so Banbury were prepared for a tough fixture.
Brilliant play from Chris Phillips led to an early penalty for not releasing, the number 8 getting himself in a great position over the ball. Ed Phillips stepped up to kick the penalty and Banbury had the early advantage 0-3.
Chippenham’s 1st try of the game was a controversial one. Banbury looked like they’d pushed the Chippenham flanker into touch and the linesman appeared to agree, initially raising his flag to indicate a lineout before quickly changing his mind and putting the flag down again. The Banbury players stopped whereas Chippenham sensibly played to the whistle, Ryan Surrey running in under the posts. Despite consulting with the linesman, the referee awarded the try. A simple conversion for Sam Saunders and Chippenham were in front 7-3.
Chippenham’s 2nd try was less controversial. Banbury turned the ball over and quick play from Chippenham saw them exploit an overlap down the left-hand side. Charlie Palmer the man to score in the corner. Sam Saunders missed the conversion from the side-line but Chippenham had extended their lead to 12-3.
Banbury hit back strongly. After winning a penalty Banbury kicked deep into the corner. Pete Boulton made a strong break but was stopped narrowly short of the try line. The ball was shipped wide and a long pass from Tommy Gray released Freddie Cracknell into the corner. Ed Phillips missed a tough side-line conversion but Banbury were back in contention, 12-8.
Just before half time Chippenham extended their lead. Poor tackling from Banbury saw Chippenham break down the left. Once the Banbury defenders looked like they’d got hold of the Chippenham winger he still managed to slip the ball inside to Jacob Unwin and he ran his way over in the corner. Sam Saunders missed another side-line conversion attempt but Chippenham had a 17-8 lead at halftime.
Banbury kicked off the 2nd half with another penalty, Chippenham penalised for a tip tackle. Ed Phillips struck the easy penalty to bring the scores closer, 17-11. Banbury’s strong start to the half was undone quickly though. A strong step from Jacob Unwin saw him get through the Banbury line too easily and he ran in under the posts. A simple conversion for Sam Saunders saw Chippenham increase the lead to 24-11.
Banbury responded quickly. Freddie Cracknell made the initial break down the left and nearly snuck his way in the corner. Good work from the forwards got Banbury within touching distance of the try line allowing Ed Phillips to finish the move, sneaking his way over just to the left of the posts. The scrum-half picked himself up to convert his own try closing the gap to 24-18.
Whatever was said at half-time clearly was working because Banbury scored again shortly after. Banbury won a scrum 5 metres out and this provided the perfect platform for the Bulls. The ball was shipped wide quickly, George Grieve releasing Tommy Gray to crash over from a couple metres out. 4 tries in 3 league games for the winger. Ed Phillips added the extras and Banbury had their first lead, 24-25.
2 minutes later Banbury extended their lead. Matt Goode and Ian Isham combining to make the initial break before releasing Jimmy Manley. Jimmy Manley handed off the opposition scrum-half before stepping the last man and running in from 20 metres out. A lovely effort from the Banbury centre which also sealed a try bonus point for Banbury. Another simple conversion for Ed Phillips and Banbury were in front 24-32.
Chippenham were back in touch shortly after though. Exploiting a numerical advantage down the left Brad Doggett ran in from close to the half-way line. Sam Saunders converted and it was back to within 1 point, 31-32. Chippenham were piling on the pressure. A couple of minutes later deep in the Banbury half the Bulls were penalised for offside and Sam Saunders kicked the penalty to put Chippenham back in front, 34-32.
Banbury took the lead with another penalty. Chippenham penalised for not releasing after brilliant work from Matt Goode. The penalty was right on the edge of Ed Phillips’s range but as he himself said, “he who dares, wins”. A real pressure kick with a couple minutes left on the clock. Ed Phillips nailed the kick to the delight of the travelling Banbury supporters to give Banbury the lead 34-35.
The drama wasn’t over there though. Banbury were penalised for not being 10 metres back from another quickly taken penalty. A chance to win it for Chippenham in added time from about 30 metres out. Sam Saunders pushed his kick wide to the left though and the game was over. A dramatic end to a thrilling contest.
Special mentions should go to the Banbury pack who dominated Chippenham at the scrum for 80 minutes. Giles Saar also picked up the Banbury man of the match, throwing himself into numerous tackles and breakdowns.
Speaking to Head Coach Matt Goode after the game about the win:
“It was a bit of a rugby cliché but it really was a game of 2 halves. We didn’t suss their defence out and we took too long to decide how we were going to play. But we worked hard for 80 minutes, you don’t win games in the 1st half but we got the win. I think we’ve played better in the past 2 games but we’ve come out on top with another 5 points and I’m delighted.”
Talking about what he said at half time:
“Just to be a little bit more clinical, be precise. Do what we do well. I kept the same side for the 1st 10 minutes of the 2nd half then brought the subs on. I think the depth we’ve got in the side from the 1st’s 2nd’s and 3rd’s shows that whoever comes into the team brings an impact which is amazing.”
On next week’s game and if Banbury can make it 4 wins from 4:
“I hope so, we’re at home and we’re phenomenal at home. We just need to tweak a few things. We need to look at the video and go back to the drawing board on Tuesday at training and really focus on some of the things we didn’t get quite right here. If we get those right, I’m confident we can get another win.”
Try scorers: Freddie Cracknell, Ed Phillips, Tommy Gray, Jimmy Manley.
15. Tommy Gray
14. Dan Brady
13. George Grieve
12. Jimmy Manley
11. Freddie Cracknell
10. Jack Briggs
9. Ed Phillips (Sponsored by: P Montanaro – ITSM Consultancy)
1. Ian Isham (Captain) (Sponsored by: Fieldcraft)
2. Giles Saar (Sponsored by: Jamie Briggs Removals & Storage)
3. Pete Boulton
4. Kallum Dixey
5. Sam Carr Archer
6. Jacob Mills
7. Angus Johnson
8. Chris Phillips
16. Ken Kay
17. Joe Mills (Sponsored by: DTC International)
18. Matt Goode (Sponsored by: Hook Norton Crop Consultancy)