Bulls Grind Out Ugly Win !
Banbury continued their winning run despite a sub-par performance against Grove. Ed Phillips scored all the points for the Bulls in a 16-10 victory to make it 7 wins in a row.
Recreation Ground, Cane Lane – Saturday 13th January 2018
Match report by Alex Inch, photos by Simon Grieve
The referee rather set the tone of the game when George Grieve was shown a yellow for the first penalty of the game. Penalised for not rolling away after a tackle. Grove took full advantage of the situation by opening the scoring shortly after. Steve Dixey picked up from the base of a ruck and dived over from close range. Connor Hull missed the conversion attempt, but Grove had an early 0-5 lead.
Ed Phillips narrowed the lead with a penalty. Grove penalised for coming in at the side. Banbury were soon back in the opposition half, roughly 10 metres out and Grove conceded another penalty. Ed Phillips took a quick one but was tackled almost immediately resulting in another penalty. Ed Phillips took another quick one and the same thing happened again. Banbury could easily have argued the case for a penalty try as Ed Phillips would have easily scored if not for the penalties. Perhaps the only person more surprised than the Banbury supporters not to see a yellow card was the Grove player. Ed Phillips kicked the penalty to give Banbury the lead 6-5.
Banbury piled on the pressure and were back in the opposition 22. The penalty count was rising for Grove and eventually Josh Tyler saw yellow for collapsing a rolling maul. 30 seconds later Pat Wiltshire joined him in the sin-bin for not rolling away. Banbury made the extra numbers count, Sam Stoop was stopped narrowly short. The ball was quickly recycled, and Ed Phillips darted his way over from close range. Ed Phillips then converted his own try to make it 13-5 to Banbury.
Clearly Grove watched Banbury last week as this playing with 13 men seemed to be working. Sam Tokelove made a brilliant break down the right side-line going from his own half to inside Banbury’s 22. Grove recycled quickly, the ball was spun out to Luke Matthews who chipped to the opposite corner and Benny Davies won the footrace to touchdown in the corner. Connor Hull was off target with the extras, but Grove had narrowed the lead to 13-10 just before the half time whistle.
The second half certainly wasn’t a classic but there were some very nervous moments for the Bulls. Steve Dixey got a yellow for Grove after taking Jimmy Manley out off the ball. Ed Phillips kicked the resulting penalty to increase the lead to 16-10. Nick Pratt also got a yellow for Banbury which no one seemed sure what for.
Grove went close a couple times late on, but the Banbury defence managed to hold on for a hard-fought win. Not the performance Banbury come to expect these days but at the end of the day a win is a win. Jimmy Manley was Banbury’s Man of the Match, his ability to hold up the man and ball was brilliant and a real momentum shifter when Grove were trying to get back into the game.
Speaking to Head Coach Matt Goode after the game: “I’m happy we got the win, 4 points is 4 points. Not very happy with the performance, think going from the high of last week (beating Chippenham) to the lull of this week is a bit annoying. I’m not happy and yet we’ve just won which seems strange, but we’ve got to draw a line under it and move on.
On what went wrong, game plan, complacency? “Maybe a bit of a game plan thing, I’m going to have to go away and have a think about things. I don’t think we were quite up for it like we were last week and that’s something that needs looking at.”
On Banbury’s higher expectations: “After speaking to JK (James Kerr) a few years ago we were coming here, and we wanted to beat them, and we’d have been really happy to get a win. Now we’re looking at performances not just results.”
On Marlow next week: “This game was probably the perfect preparation for Marlow, we now need to knuckle down, we need to improve. There were some fantastic individual performances today, but we need to play better as a team.”
On the standard of the division and that there are no easy games. “Absolutely, its funny how Grove play a good game like that and our still 3rd from bottom, their position in the league doesn’t do them justice. We wish them all the luck in the next few games and the rest of the season and hopefully they’ll be staying up.”
Banbury try scorer: Ed Phillips.
15. Joe Mills (Sponsored by: DTC International)
14. George Grieve
13. Jimmy Manley (Sponsored by: Godiva Insurance)
12. Jack Briggs
11. Josh Deegan (Sponsored by: Allsafe Scaffolding)
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. Kallum Dixey
5. Angus Johnson
6. Jacob Mills (Sponsored by: Hire Safe Solutions)
7. Matthew Powell
8. Chris Phillips (Sponsored by: Lorne Alway)
16. Giles Saar (Sponsored by: Jamie Briggs Removals & Storage)
17. Nick Pratt
18. Dan Brady