Bulls Extend Winning Run To Eleven !
Despite a rusty performance, Banbury continued their winning streak away at Salisbury. Tries from Jack Briggs, Tommy Gray and Josh Deegan helped Banbury to a 19-5 victory.
Castle Road, Salisbury - Saturday 10th March 2018
Match report by Alex Inch, photos by Simon Grieve
Banbury had suffered a disappointing loss in the reverse fixture, leading 28-5 only to ultimately lose 35-28. It was a loss that stung for a while and Banbury were keen to right some wrongs.
Banbury Bulls had only had two games since January due to postponements and it had been three weeks since the victory at Oxford Harlequins so there was definitely some rust to shake off early on for the Bulls.
Banbury started brightly. Dan Brady and Tommy Gray showing off their pace to make some excellent early breaks, but it was Salisbury who opened the scoring. Nick Wotton exploited some poor Banbury defending to make a break down the left before offloading to Rory MacTaggart who touched down in the corner. Nick Wotton was off target with the conversion attempt, but Salisbury had an early 5-0 lead.
Going behind kicked Banbury into gear and they had a strong period after the restart. Sam Stoop chipped in behind and good pressure from Dan Brady forced his opposite number into a mistake, knocking on 5 metres from his own try line. From the scrum Ed Phillips passed to Sam Stoop who passed the ball on to Jack Briggs who was running a brilliant line to smash through the Salisbury defence. The inside centre leaving a trail of Salisbury players behind him before touching down just to the left of the posts. Ed Phillips converted to give Banbury the lead 5-7.
Salisbury had a good period of pressure just before half time, winning a scrum 5 metres out, but strong defence from the Bulls pushed them back to the 22 before forcing an error to leave the score 5-7 to Banbury at half time.
Salisbury started the second half brightly making a couple solid line breaks. Salisbury elected to chip over the top often but good sweeping from Tommy Gray cut out any danger. And it was Tommy Gray who showed his skills in attack as well as in defence to increase the lead for Banbury. Freddie Cracknell played in Tommy Gray down the right flank who showed great skill to slam on the brakes and step his way back infield, cutting a great line through the Salisbury defence before scoring under the posts. Ed Phillips converted to increase the lead to 5-14.
Pete Boulton limped off with a back injury, Dan Brady went off with a similar issue before Jack Briggs was also forced off with a nasty looking head injury after a dangerous clear out from Salisbury. Credit to the Banbury players for filling in outside their usual positions in difficult circumstances. Angus Johnson who usually plays second row or flanker, started the game playing number 8 and finished it playing inside centre!
Despite the makeshift back line Banbury extended their lead after a brilliant run from Freddie Cracknell. Fresh from his victory in the Midlands Conference Cup for Oxford Brookes on Wednesday the tricky winger carried brilliantly from out wide, spinning out of two high tackles before expertly offloading to Josh Deegan who sprinted his way into the corner for another Banbury try. Ed Phillips couldn’t convert from the side-line to leave it 5-19.
Salisbury looked for a way back into the game and nearly scored in the corner except for a wonderful try saving tackle from Tommy Gray to push his opposite number into touch. Despite a good effort, Banbury’s defence managed to hold firm for a hard-fought victory. A scrappy contest, which was to be expected after such a long time without a game for either side but an important win for Banbury in the promotion hunt. Jimmy Manley was Banbury’s man of the match, he carried fantastically but it was his efforts in defence that stood out. Constantly killing any momentum Salisbury had with some brilliant turnovers at crucial moments.
Speaking to Matt Goode after the game: “We’re always looking to get those 5 points but 4 points, away, to a team we lost to at home shows the strides we’re making. Happy, yes, happy with the win. The performance was rusty but when you have 3 weeks off that’s what happens. It’s good to be playing again and winning again.
It’s promotion material when you grind out those results as well? “Absolutely, I think the last game like that was Grove away. We didn’t play that well, but a win is a win. Playing ugly and getting a win is a great feeling. We’ve got another away game at Old Centralians next week so let’s hope we can perform.”
Is it hard to keep up the focus and the intensity when its been so long without a game? “Both teams looked rusty. It’s one of those things, it’s the little passes and the centimetres of where you should be and the lines you’re running that are difficult. We trained ok. I’m not sure we were focused enough on the way down but that’s something to look at and improve.”
Will it be good to finally get the Old Centralians game played after two postponements? “Yeah we’re looking forward to it. It’s our game in hand against Chippenham and it’ll be good to get it behind us. Hopefully with a win.”
On Man of the Match: “Jimmy Manley, he was outstanding in defence. He took the ball up with conviction every time he got it. He was our stand out player. Kallum Dixey and Giles Saar put their bodies on the line and they really worked hard. But I think Jimmy just edged them, he was outstanding.”
Banbury try scorers: Jack Briggs, Tommy Gray and Josh Deegan.
15. Tommy Gray (Sponsored by: Edd Frost & Daughters)
14. Dan Brady
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. Angus Johnson
16. Ken Key (Sponsored by: Lockwoods Ski and Outdoor)
17. Matt Brock
18. Freddie Cracknell (Sponsored by: F M & P Consultancy)