Bulls Rampant At Half Way Point !
Banbury Bulls produced arguably their best away performance of the season with a 47-22 victory against Wimborne. A hat-trick of tries from Freddie Cracknell helped secure the bonus point win.
Leigh Park, Gordon Road - Saturday 9th December 2017
Match report by Alex Inch, photos by Simon Grieve
Ed Phillips settled any early nerves with a penalty to make it 3-0 after Wimborne were penalised for offside. Banbury continued their bright start to the game when Jimmy Manley touched down for a neat try. Matt Goode burst his way through the Wimborne defence, shredding a couple of tackles on the way before slipping the ball inside to Jimmy Manley who touched down out to the left. Ed Phillips converted to give Banbury an early 10-0 lead.
Banbury had come out the blocks flying and were soon touching down again. Wimborne conceded a penalty for not rolling away which Sam Stoop kicked for the corner. Ian Isham found his target at the lineout and the ball found its way back to the captain at the back of the rolling maul. Some excellent work from the pack drove Wimborne back and eventually Ian Isham touched the ball down out wide to the right. Ed Phillips couldn’t convert but Banbury stormed to an early 15-0 lead.
Banbury increased the lead with another Ed Phillips penalty. Wimborne again punished for being offside. Banbury continued their fine start with another try. Dan Brady made a brilliant break down the right which had the Wimborne defence scrambling to get back in. Sam Stoop took advantage of the situation by chipping into the corner and Freddie Cracknell was quickest to react to the situation touching the ball down in the corner. Ed Phillips nailed a tricky conversion to leave a rather shell-shocked Wimborne 25-0 down.
Wimborne got back into a game with a try of their own. A penalty saw them kick them for the corner and after winning the lineout Wimborne quickly got the ball wide. Freddie Cracknell was left with a 2 on 1 and cynically knocked the ball on. Despite Freddie Cracknell’s best efforts, Wimborne gathered the loose ball anyway and James Walton scored in the corner. James Bartlett couldn’t add the extras, but the lead was narrowed to 25-5. Freddie Cracknell was shown a yellow for the deliberate knock on. Banbury did have time for one more Ed Phillips penalty before the half time whistle. Wimborne penalised for not releasing to leave the score 28-5 at half time.
Despite being a man down to start the second half it was Banbury who extended the lead. Ian Isham made a good break and offloaded to Giles Saar who dipped his head and charged his way over the line. Ed Phillips continued his fine form with the boot to add another conversion to make it 35-5.
Wimborne narrowed the lead with a try from 17-year-old Max Tipping. The impressive youngster picked up off the base of ruck and burst his way through a gap in the Banbury defence to score just wide of the posts. James Bartlett converted to make it 35-12.
Banbury ended any hopes of a comeback when Freddie Cracknell scored his second try. Sam Stoop took advantage of Wimborne’s defensive line charging out by chipping in behind again and in a repeat of a try in the first half Freddie Cracknell touched down in the corner. Ed Phillips nailed his kick from the side-line to make it 42-12.
Freddie Cracknell completed his hat-trick after a lovely break from Ed Harden. The big second row burst his way through the Wimborne line and was stopped just short of the line. Sam Stoop whipped the ball wide to Tommy Gray who released Freddie Cracknell down the right. Sensing an ever-narrowing gap down the side-line, Freddie Cracknell slammed the breaks on and cut his way inside to touch down wide to the left. A fine hat-trick from the follicly-challenged winger. Joe Mills had by now taken over the kicking duties but couldn’t add the extras to leave it 47-12.
Wimborne finished the game strongly with a pair of tries which helped secure them a try bonus point, much to the delight of the Wimborne supporters. First Ashton Kerley crossed after a neat move from the backs, bursting his way through the defence before touching down out wide. James Bartlett couldn’t add the extra’s, but he soon had a try of his own. Wimborne git the ball wide and the pass was nearly intercepted. The ball took a couple ricochets before James Bartlett kicked the ball through and won the footrace to touch down in the corner. He couldn’t add the extra’s but had secured a vital try bonus point for Wimborne just before the full-time whistle.
A nice win for Banbury who have struggled at times on the road this season. Some brilliant performances across the pitch, Dan Brady made some brilliant breaks but didn’t get the try his play deserved and Kallum Dixey was immense under the high ball all day. Banbury’s Man of the Match went to Jimmy Manley (pictured), a dominating performance from the Banbury centre making great ground going forward but also some brilliant work in defence, constantly holding the ball up and slowing down the game.
Speaking to Matt Goode after the game: “It wasn’t the best we’ve played but it was a clinical performance. We were clinical, and we did the job well. I think the performance was good, but we let them in a little bit. But we’re pretty happy overall.”
On the evolution of the team: “We all know our patterns of play; the critical thing is so do all the other teams. They know how we play and what we do. We’re going to mix it up a bit, play more effective and play a little bit different style of play for next week.”
On reaching 50 points at the half way point: “The boys that have come in have been great, they’ve really added value to the team. I think we all know where we’re going and what we’re doing. The youngsters that have come in as well have been brilliant.”
How he rates the first half of the season: “I think the most important thing is we’ve enjoyed it, we’ve enjoyed our brand of rugby. Speaking to some of the boys its clear they love playing. You can tell by the smiles of the boys after the game that we’ve got a great team bond and that’s one of the most crucial things.”
Any thoughts of promotion “We’re taking it one game at a time. Let’s enjoy our rugby and build on this first half of the season. We’re not thinking about promotion yet, we’ll put things in place if we get a little bit closer and we’re nearly there. But hey we’re not going to put that pressure on ourselves, we’re going to continue to enjoy playing our rugby.”
Try scorers: Freddie Cracknell (3) Jimmy Manley, Giles Saar, Ian Isham
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. Freddie Cracknell (Sponsored by: F M & P Consultancy)
10. Sam Stoop (Sponsored by: H Colegrave & Son)
9. Ed Phillips (Sponsored by: P Montanaro – ITSM Consultancy)
1. Joe Winpenny
2. Ian Isham (Captain) (Sponsored by: Fieldcraft)
3. Pete Boulton (Sponsored by: BRUFC SAGA Department)
4. Matt Brock
5. Kallum Dixey
6. Giles Saar (Sponsored by: Jamie Briggs Removals & Storage)
7. Jacob Mills (Sponsored by: Hire Safe Solutions)
8. Chris Phillips (Sponsored by: Lorne Alway)
16. Ken Key (Sponsored by: Lockwoods Ski and Outdoor)
17. Ed Harden
18. Tommy Gray (Sponsored by: Edd Frost & Daughters)