Bulls Deliver The Christmas Cheer !
Banbury Bulls finished 2017 in style with a dominating performance against local rivals Bicester. A brace of tries for Dan Brady and Tommy Gray helped seal the 57-10 victory.
Oxford Road, Bicester – Saturday 16th December 2017
Match report by Alex Inch, photos by Simon Grieve
Banbury took the lead when Chris Phillips drove over at the back of a rolling maul. Bicester were under increasing pressure and sliced a clearing kick to give Banbury a lineout 5 metres out. Ian Isham found his target and good work from the pack eventually saw Chris Phillips touchdown for an early lead. Ed Phillips couldn’t add the extras, but the bulls had an early 5-0 lead.
Chris Phillips went from try scorer to try provider for Banbury’s second score. Sam Stoop got the ball out wide, Chris Phillips drew the last man before offloading to Dan Brady who sneaked his way in, in the corner. Ed Phillips couldn’t convert from the side-line to leave it 10-0.
Banbury’s next score will be a contender for their try of the season. Jack Briggs on as an early substitute for Jimmy Manley after a hamstring tweak made the initial burst, he offloaded inside to Joe Mills who threw a pass behind his back to Ed Phillips. Ed Phillips then switched to Tommy Gray who burst his way into the 22. With the Bicester defence rapidly back peddling Sam Stoop chipped the ball behind and Dan Brady (pictured) won the footrace to touchdown in the corner. Ed Phillips converted from the side-line and Banbury were into an early 17-0 lead.
Dan Spencer narrowed the lead with a penalty for Bicester to make it 17-3 but it was Banbury who were scoring again soon. Banbury won a scrum against the head 5 metres out, Sam Stoop looped the ball out wide and Tommy Gray dived through 2 defenders to touchdown in the corner. Ed Phillips was left with another side-line conversion attempt, but his kick fell just short to make it 22-3.
Banbury had time for one more try before half time. The Banbury pack were stopped narrowly short after a strong rolling maul. Ed Phillips got the ball out to Sam Stoop who beat his opposite number to score just to the right of the posts. A fine reward for the number 10 after a couple nice assists earlier in the game. Ed Phillips converted to make it 29-3 at half time.
Banbury picked up where they left off at the start of the second half. Matthew Powell who usually plays as a flanker was on as a substitute out on the wing after Joe Mills went off with a hamstring tweak. The flanker/winger burst his way down the right flank before being caught just inside the Bicester half. Ed Phillips gathered the ball and snuck his way down the blind side and outsprinted the Bicester defence to score out to the right. Ed Phillips converted his own try to increase the lead to 36-3.
Banbury increased their lead when Jacob Mills touched down just to the left of the posts. Nick Pratt burst his way through the Bicester line and offloaded to Jacob Mills who was on hand to score. Ed Phillips converted to make it 43-3.
Tommy Gray added his second try after good work from Dan Brady. Dan Brady spun his way out of a high tackle slipped the ball inside to Ed Phillips who quickly passed it on to Tommy Gray who dived over under the posts. Ed Phillips converted to make it 50-3.
Banbury finished their scoring with a try from flanker/winger Matthew Powell. Tommy Gray danced his way out of a couple tackles and offloaded to Matthew Powell who snuck his way down the side-line and after beating the last man cut inside to touchdown under the posts. A brilliant moment for Matthew Powell who’d never even played on the wing before Saturdays game. Ed Phillips converted to make it 57-3.
Bicester picked up a late consolation try when Adam Hall scored in the corner. The Bicester pack were stopped narrowly short of the line, but Adam Hall was on hand to take advantage after the ball broke loose to sneak in, in the corner. Dan Spencer converted from the side-line to leave the scores 57-10 at the full-time whistle. A brilliant performance to take into the Christmas break. Chris Phillips and Dan Brady were awarded joint men of the match.
Speaking to Matt Goode after the game about the performance and the fact there was no complacency: “It was business as usual for us today. We’re into the second half of the season and teams will know how we play so on the back of that we’ve changed a few things. Clearly it worked today. We’ve set ourselves targets and we hit every one today. That’s really pleasing from a coaching point of view. It was also great to see the strength in depth from the boys that came in.”
“This is a tough place to come and could have been a banana skin for us, they’re coached well. Especially in the forwards they were stronger than when we played them at our place. We just needed to stick to our targets and stick to our plan and we did that. We’re a growing side and I think we played excellently. They [Bicester] were better than when we played them at Banbury, but I think we were just a bit too strong today. We wish them all the best for the rest of the season.”
On the injuries and players playing out of position: “Everybody is comfortable with our game plan and what we’re doing in our training sessions. When we do play our patterns everybody individually knows what they are supposed to being doing. Whether they’re playing back row or out on the wing it doesn’t matter as we’ve got the players who can adapt.”
On the Christmas break and the huge game against Chippenham when they’re back. Would he be telling them to lay off the mince pies or to relax and enjoy themselves: “It’s a bit of both isn’t it. It’s enjoying the festive period, we’ve got 4 training sessions between now and Chippenham to prepare for that game. I won’t be telling them to lay off the beers or the pies though, they can look after themselves.”
Banbury Try Scorers: Dan Brady (2) Tommy Gray (2) Chris Phillips, Sam Stoop, Ed Phillips, Jacob Mills and Matthew Powell.
15. Joe Mills (Sponsored by: DTC International)
14. Tommy Gray (Sponsored by: Edd Frost & Daughters)
13. Jimmy Manley (Sponsored by: Godiva Insurance)
12. Matt Goode (Sponsored by: Hook Norton Crop Consultancy)
11. Dan Brady
10. Sam Stoop (Sponsored by: H Colegrave & Son)
9. Ed Phillips (Sponsored by: P Montanaro – ITSM Consultancy)
1. Ken Key (Sponsored by: Lockwoods Ski and Outdoor)
2. Ian Isham (Captain) (Sponsored by: Fieldcraft)
3. Pete Boulton (Sponsored by: BRUFC SAGA Department)
4. Matt Brock
5. Kallum Dixey
6. Jacob Mills (Sponsored by: Hire Safe Solutions)
7. Giles Saar (Sponsored by: Jamie Briggs Removals & Storage)
8. Chris Phillips (Sponsored by: Lorne Alway)
16. Nick Pratt
17. Matthew Powell
18. Jack Briggs 2.0