Bulls Hold On For All The Points !
Banbury Bulls got back to winning ways in the league after two successive defeats previously. A hat-trick of tries from Joe Mills (pictured) saw Banbury run out convincing winners 36-19 away against Swindon.
New Pavillion, Greenbridge Road - Saturday 25th November 2017
Match report by Alex Inch.
Despite two previous defeats in the league Banbury had found form last week against a strong Oxford Greyhounds team in the cup and were looking to carry that on into the league with a tricky game away at Swindon.
Joe Mills settled any nerves for the Bulls, slotting an early penalty after Swindon were penalised for offside. Soon it was getting even better for the Bulls and Joe Mills. George Grieve made a break down the right touchline before drawing the last man and slipping the ball inside to Joe Mills who outsprinted the covering defence to touchdown under the posts. Joe Mills then converted his own try to give Banbury an early 0-10 lead. Sadly it was Grieve’s only contribution to the match as he pulled up lame.
Banbury’s impressive start continued when Ian Isham scored another try for the Bulls. Banbury utilised one of their main weapons with a strong rolling maul from a lineout and were stopped narrowly short of the try line. Ian Isham picked up off the base of the ruck threw a nice dummy to hold the defence in position and charged his way through a gap in the Swindon line. Despite the presence of 3 defenders the Banbury Captain wasn’t going to be denied. Joe Mills converted to give Banbury a strong 0-17 lead.
Swindon got back into the game with a try of their own. After a long period of sustained pressure, the Banbury defence finally gave way. From a scrum 5 metres out the Swindon number 8 burst off the back of a scrum and barged and jinked his way over the line. The try was converted to leave it 7-17.
Joe Mills looked like he’d scored again with a neat try in the corner, but the last pass was adjudged to have been forward. This didn’t keep him back for long though when he punished a mistake from Swindon. After a scrum Swindon tried to force the ball out wide quickly. Maybe a little to quickly as the long pass missed its intended target and Joe Mills expertly scooped the ball off the turf before arching his run from out wide to touch down close to the posts. Joe Mills converted his second try of the game to increase the lead to 7-24.
Joe Mills completed a stunning first half when he scored his third try of the day. Matt Goode kicked the ball deep, before Swindon tried to return with a kick of their own. Kallum Dixey charged the kick down and then charged after the ball. Banbury regathered and had numbers outside and would have scored if not for a deliberate knock on by Swindon. Joe Mills reacted quickest to the situation though, taking a quick penalty before stepping the last man and running in untouched under the posts. Joe Mills added the extras to leave it 7-31 at halftime.
Swindon kicked off the second half looking much improved. Swindon found themselves camped in the Banbury half for a long period at the beginning of the second half. Eventually they got their reward as well. A sharp pass from the inside centre played in the number 18 who ran through some indifferent Bulls defending before touching down next to the posts. The try was converted by the fly half to make it 14-31.
Swindon continued their fine start to the half with another try. Swindon broke from deep after some more poor tackling from the Bulls. Swindon were eventually stopped inside the Banbury 22 but the fly half got the ball wide and exploited a backs versus forwards mismatch to outsprint the cover defence before playing in a prop to touchdown in the corner. The Swindon 10 couldn’t convert but the score line was looking a lot closer, 19-31.
Matt Brock killed off any thoughts of a comeback with a late try for Banbury. Nice breaks from Freddie Cracknell and Jimmy Manley were kept out well by Swindon but a quick change of direction from Banbury caught out Swindon down the blindside and Matt Brock went over in the corner. Joe Mills couldn’t convert from out wide, but the lead was increased to 19-36.
The scores remained the same up until the final whistle. 5 points for Banbury with a brilliant first half and a not so great second one. Credit to Swindon who changed their game plan at halftime and really came back into the game strongly. Kallum Dixey was awarded Banbury’s man of the match for a great defensive shift and real energy across the entire pitch. Joe Mills also had a brilliant afternoon contributing 26 of the 36 points scored for Banbury.
Speaking to Matt Goode after the game: “We got the 5 points which was important and in that first half we showed what we can do, scoring 31 points and playing some really good patterns. Like all teams they tried to come back at us, they had the wind and played down the hill and they did alright. Think we need to play our patterns and not let them get back into the game but at the end of the day 5 points is 5 points.”
On the second half turnaround: “I don’t think we were quick enough to adapt. We need our defence to get up a little bit quicker, but they did play well in that second half. They really wanted it and sometimes when you’re 30 points up your mind goes a little bit and I think that’s what happened.”
On next weeks big clash with Stratford upon Avon: “I want us focusing on that first half and taking that into next Saturday. It’s a big game for us and a big game for the club. A nice charity game and we’re looking forward to playing some good rugby back at home on a nice wide pitch.”
Banbury try scorers: Joe Mills (3) Ian Isham and Matt Brock.
15. Tommy Gray (Sponsored by: Edd Frost & Daughters)
14. Freddie Cracknell (Sponsored by: F M & P Consultancy)
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. Joe Mills (Sponsored by: DTC International)
1. Joe Winpenny
2. Ian Isham (Captain) (Sponsored by: Fieldcraft)
3. Pete Boulton (Sponsored by: The BRUFC SAGA Department)
4. Kallum Dixey
5. Sam Carr Archer
6. Jacob Mills (Sponsored by: Hire Safe Solutions)
7. Angus Johnson
8. Chris Phillips (Sponsored by: Lorne Alway)
16. Ken Key (Sponsored by: Lockwoods Ski and Outdoor)
17. Matt Brock
18. Ed Phillips (Sponsored by: P Montanaro – ITSM Consultancy)