Quins Go Down To “Banbury, Of All People !”
No doubt fired-up by two ill-informed ‘journalists’, Banbury made it 10 wins in a row with a dominating performance against local rivals Oxford Harlequins. 2 tries from captain and man-of-the-match Ian Isham led the Bulls to a 36-17 victory.
Marston Ferry Road – Saturday 17th February 2018
Match report by Alex Inch, photos by Simon Grieve
Coming into this game Oxford Harlequins were undefeated at home in the league this season and Banbury were on a 9-game winning run, which added some extra spice to a big local derby.
Banbury flew out the blocks and looked dangerous from the beginning. The Bulls won a penalty for the first of many high-tackles and kicked for the corner. Ian Isham found his target in the lineout before gathering the ball at the back of the rolling maul. Eventually he peeled off the back of the maul before beating the last man to score out wide to the left. Ed Phillips kicked a tricky conversion to make it 7-0 early on.
Oxford Harlequins were looking to level things up and found themselves on the edge of the Banbury 22. The Quins players tried to get the ball out wide, but Tommy Gray expertly intercepted the pass and outsprinted the covering defenders to score out to the left. Clearly not letting the fact he turned 30 this week hold him back with a rapid sprint down the side-line. Ed Phillips nailed a conversion from a similar angle to the first and Banbury were 14-0 up.
Banbury continued their brilliant start to the match with a wonderful try from deep. Pete Boulton made a break down the right and slipped a sumptuous (!) pass out the back to Ian Isham. Ian Isham ran into open space while looking for some support and eventually offloaded back to Pete Boulton who unselfishly played in Josh Deegan who dived over in the corner. Some brilliant work from the front row covering easily half the pitch. Ed Phillips couldn’t convert from the side-line, but Banbury had raced into an early 19-0 lead.
Callum Cashman saw yellow for a late hit on Joe Winpenny and Keni Fisilau was lucky not to join him after two high tackles within 10 seconds of each other. Despite being a man down Quins picked up their first points of the game with a try in the corner. Chris Davies gathered the ball at the back of a rolling maul and touched down in the corner. Jack Wiggins was off target with the conversion attempt to leave it 19-5.
Banbury extended their lead with a brilliant effort from Dan Brady. Sam Stoop and Jack Briggs exchanged neat passes before passing the ball on to Dan Brady. The winger got around the outside of his opposite defender, breaking two tackles, stepping the full back before being tackled over the line for a wonderful try out to the left. Ed Phillips hit another tricky conversion to continue his good day with the boot to make it 26-5.
Quins scored another try just before the half time whistle. Fotu Latu made a good run sucking in Banbury defenders before expertly offloading to Keni Fisilau who crashed over from short range. Jack Wiggins was off target again with the conversion attempt to leave the score 26-10 at the half time whistle.
Ed Phillips extended the lead after half time with a penalty to make it 29-10 after Keni Fisilau was penalised for yet another high tackle on Dan Brady. Kallum Dixey saw yellow for Banbury after he was penalised for not binding on to the scrum correctly.
Quins took full advantage of the extra man with a converted try. Jack Wiggins threw a lovely pass to Jack Todd who ran through a hole in the Banbury defence to run in untouched under the posts. Jack Wiggins added the extras to make it 29-17.
Any hopes of a comeback were crushed in the final few minutes when Ian Isham went over for his second try of the game. The hooker gathered the ball at the back of a rolling maul before peeling out the back and crashing his way over from short range in a near repeat of his try in the first half. Ed Phillips kicked another tricky conversion to leave it 36-17. Ed Phillips kicked the ball out a minute later to bring up the full-time whistle for a well-deserved 5 points. A bruising physical game and exactly what you’d expect from a local derby.
Speaking to Matt Goode after the game: “There’s definitely a contender for try of the season this week. We were outstanding for the whole game, I think our skill and the way we wanted to play rugby absolutely showed.”
On the physical game: “They’re a rugged side and if things don’t go their way they get slightly more aggressive than the laws allow. But we played our rugby and our patterns, and we showed that our patterns and skills out shone a bit of brutality.”
On ending another undefeated record. “We take every game as it comes but certainly to get the double on them this year like they did to us last year is pleasing and then also to come and beat them convincingly on their own patch where they haven’t lost is fantastic.”
On Royal Wootton Bassett next week and being a bit of a bogey team: “We lost to them away last year and this year. We didn’t really have our head in the right place when we played them at there place but we’re a completely different team now to the one we were back then so we’re looking forward to it. We’ve got some difficult decisions to make regarding selection but that’s a good headache to have. We’re very much looking forward to putting some wrongs right.”
On Ian Isham’s Man of the Match: “Giles Saar had a great game so did Pete Boulton, but Ian Isham did the most things right. His lineouts were good, obviously scoring the two tries, his defence and his work ethic and work rate were exceptional. I think he lead from the front and that was a perfect captain’s performance.”
Banbury Try Scorers: Ian Isham (2) Tommy Gray, Josh Deegan, Dan Brady
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. 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. Joe Winpenny
2. Ian Isham (Captain) (Sponsored by: Fieldcraft)
3. Pete Boulton (Sponsored by: BRUFC SAGA Department)
4. Kallum Dixey
5. Sam Carr Archer
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. Matt Brock
18. Dan Brady