Rampant Second Half Earns Bulls Maximum Points !
An incredible second half from Banbury Bulls saw them go from 18-6 at half-time to win 65-13 against Grove. A brace of tries from Banbury wingers George Grieve and Dan Brady saw the Bulls pick up their fourth bonus point victory in a row.
DCS Stadium – Saturday 23rd September 2017
Match report by Alex Inch, action photos by Simon Grieve.
Despite an opening day victory for Grove against Swindon, Grove had lost their last 2 games and were looking to bounce back against the in-form Bulls team. It was Grove who started strongest, winning a penalty in the opening 2 minutes which James Monk struck from a long way out. 0-3 to Grove.
Grove’s lead didn’t last for too long though. Banbury found themselves deep in the opposition 22. Some lovely passing from the Bulls saw them exploit some space down the right-hand side before Angus Johnson dived over in the corner. Ed Phillips missed the side-line conversion but Banbury were in front 5-3.
Ed Phillips increased the lead with a penalty after Grove were penalised for offside to make it 8-3. Banbury won another penalty 5 metres out but this time elected to go for a scrum. Ed Phillips peeled off the back of the scrum before throwing a lovely pass to George Grieve who touched down in the same corner as the first try. Ed Phillips missed from the side-line but the lead was now 13-3.
Another penalty for Grove saw them narrow the gap to 13-6 but it was Banbury who were crossing the try line again next. Grove kicked deep to George Grieve who made a brilliant run from past the halfway line, scything his way through the Grove defence. Grieve drew the last man before unselfishly passing to Dan Brady who touched down in the left corner. The conversion was missed to leave it 18-6.
Jimmy Manley made a heroic covering tackle when Grove looked like they were going to score in the corner, however the Banbury centre saw himself yellow carded after not rolling away. Banbury held out from the resulting penalty to keep it 18-6 at halftime.
Despite being a man down at the start of the second half it was Banbury who increased their lead. Fine work from George Grieve saw him break down the right wing. Finding himself one on one with the fullback again he popped the ball inside to Joe Mills this time who touched down wide to the right. Joe Mills took over the kicking duties after Ed Phillips went off injured but pushed his first kick just wide. The score was now 23-6.
Banbury were back up to a full XV after Jimmy Manley was back on but it was Grove who were piling on the pressure. Despite some strong defending the penalty count was rising against Banbury and Grove were camped in the Banbury 22. Eventually James Monks smashed his way over. The Grove centre running a lovely angle to burst his way through the Banbury line. James Monks picked himself to convert his own try to reduce the lead to 23-13.
Grove were a man down after Guy Nichol was yellow carded after a dangerous tip tackle which could easily have been a red on another day. Banbury were quick to exploit the man advantage. Sam Stoop throwing a lovely pass to pull the Grove defence out of position before Jacob Mills crashed his way over. Joe Mills added the extras to make it 30-13.
Banbury were playing some lovely rugby and were soon scoring again. Matt Goode made the initial break only to be stopped narrowly short. Despite a cynical deliberate knock on from Grove, Ken Key was quickest to react to the loose ball and he popped a pass to Kallum Dixey who dived his way over from 5 metres out. 2 tries in as many minutes for the Bulls. Joe Mills converted to make it 37-13.
The floodgates were open at this point. Jimmy Manley making the initial burst before drawing the last man and popping to George Grieve who sprinted his way under the posts. A simple conversion for Joe Mills and it was 44-13. Banbury weren’t done their though. George Grieve made a nice break before releasing Dan Brady down the right, the pacey winger tip-toed his way down the side-line before stepping his way past the last man and touching down under the posts. Another simple conversion for Joe Mills and suddenly it was 51-13. 4 tries in less than 10 minutes for the Bulls.
Grove were back up to a full XV but Banbury scored again. Good work from the Bulls had them deep in the opposition 22. Joe Mills released Sam Stoop who showed some lovely footwork to sneak his way over from close range. Joe Mills continued his fine form with the boot to nail a tricky conversion to make it 58-13.
Banbury weren’t quite finished though and still had time for one more try before the end of the game. Grove were looking tired and Matt Goode stepped and barged his way over for a final score. Joe Mills made it a near perfect day with the boot to add the extras and it was 65-13 as the final whistle was blown.
A scintillating second half performance from the Bulls and a much-deserved bonus point victory. A game where Banbury scored 10 tries from 8 different scorers showed off what was a real team performance this was. Jimmy Manley was Banbury’s Man of the Match, making some lovely breaks and some great defensive work.
Speaking to Matt Goode after the game about perfect start to the season:
“I’m really proud of the boys, we’ve dug in and got another 5 points. We can’t grumble at a score line like that. We made a few changes and it hasn’t disrupted the squad what so ever, I’m very happy.”
Talking about some of the younger guys in the squad scoring: “As a club, we’re all about bringing the boys through from colts. Seeing Jacob Mills, Dan Brady, George Grieve and Kallum Dixey score is phenomenal, you can’t ask for more.”
Talking about Marlow and if we can make it 5 from 5: “I hope so, if we play the way we’ve been playing and keep our core skills up, grind teams down, I think we’ll be fine. We don’t really know too much about Marlow we’ll have to watch how we play and hopefully in the second half we’ll pull away again.”
Try scorers: Dan Brady (2) George Grieve (2) Angus Johnson, Kallum Dixey, Jacob Mills, Joe Mills, Sam Stoop, Matt Goode.
Banbury Bulls Line-up:
15. Joe Mills (Sponsored by: DTC International)
14. Dan Brady
13. Jimmy Manley (Sponsored by: Godiva Insurance)
12. Matt Goode (Sponsored by: Hook Norton Crop Consultancy)
11. George Grieve
10. Sam Stoop (Sponsored by: H Colegrave & Son)
9. Ed Phillips (Sponsored by: P Montanaro – ITSM Consultancy)
1. Ken Key
2. Ian Isham (Captain) (Sponsored by: Fieldcraft)
3. Pete Boulton
4. Sam Carr Archer
5. Kallum Dixey
6. Jacob Mills
7. Matthew Powell
8. Angus Johnson
16. Joe Winpenny
17. Matt Brock
18. Freddie Cracknell (Sponsored by: F M & P Consultancy)