Banbury Dominate For Season's Biggest Win !
Banbury Bulls produced a brilliant performance against Swindon to make it 13 wins in a row. A hat-trick of tries from Joe Mills and a brace from Tommy Gray helped Banbury to a 73-0 victory.
The DCS Stadium, Bodicote Park-Saturday 24th of March 2018.
Match report by Alex Inch, photos by Simon Grieve
Banbury flew out the blocks, opening the scoring after 3 minutes. Joe Mills made a break down the right flank before offloading to Tommy Gray. The fullback broke through two tackles before being tackled over the line out to the right to open the scoring for the Bulls. Ed Phillips started as he meant to go on, converting from out wide to give Banbury an early 7-0 lead.
Swindon responded well to going behind and had a period of sustained pressure, but Banbury held out and increased their lead with a great counter attack. Ed Phillips made a good break but knocked on close to the line. From the scrum Banbury overturned the ball and Jimmy Manley nearly scored in the corner if not for a high tackle. Banbury regathered, and Matt Goode picked and went from close range to score just to the right of the posts. Ed Phillips added the extra’s to put Banbury 14-0 up.
Banbury scored again almost immediately after the restart. From a scrum on the halfway line, Ed Phillips peeled right and passed on to Tommy Gray who had it all to do from way out. The tricky fullback made a lovely run, breaking three tackles before stepping his opposite number and sprinting his way under the posts, finishing with a trademark Tommy Gray swan dive. One of the solo tries of the season from Tommy Gray. Ed Phillips converted and Banbury were in full control at 21-0.
Jimmy Manley scored his own wonderful solo effort shortly after. Breaking through some poor Swindon defending he found himself in a 3 on 2 situation with Ed Phillips to the left and Ian Isham to the right. As the defenders got more and more stretched Jimmy Manley made the decision to back himself and burst through the gap before being tackled over the line under the posts for a great solo effort. Ed Phillips kept up his 100% record with the boot to make it 28-0.
Joe Mills scored another try before half time to effectively end the game as a contest. Joe Mills might have scored the try but it was created by some brilliance from Tommy Gray. Tommy Gray stepped his way through the Swindon defensive line, broke another 3 tackles and sprinted his way towards the corner. The covering defence finally grabbed hold of him, but he unselfishly offloaded to Joe Mills who snuck in, in the corner before scoring wide to the left. Ed Phillips converted to make it 35-0 at halftime.
After the backs ran riot in the first half the forwards got in on the act in the second half. Banbury kicked for the corner after winning a penalty. Banbury looked like they’re were going to score before Connal Knott for Swindon cynically pulled the rolling maul down. Banbury had advantage and Joe Winpenny gathered up the lose ball and drove his way over for his first Banbury Bull try. Conall Knott saw yellow for collapsing the maul. Ed Phillips kept up his great form with the boot to convert from out wide near the touchline to make it 42-0.
Banbury extended their lead shortly after. Sam Stoop put in a cross-field kick which took a nice bounce to fall to Jack Briggs. Jack Briggs immediately offloaded to Joe Mills who stepped round the last man to score out wide to the left. Ed Phillips finally missed with a conversion attempt, but Banbury were in total control at 47-0.
Sam Stoop kicked behind which Tom Burman did well to recover. The ball was recycled and Ed Phillips nearly sneaked his way over from close range. Tommy Gray gathered at the back of the ruck darted his way round his opposite number before offloading to Matt Brock who touched down out to the left. Ed Phillips pushed his conversion attempt wide to leave it 52-0.
Banbury extended the lead with some wonderful work from the pack. Swindon had a scrum 5 metres out from their own try line. The Bulls forwards drove Swindon back and the ball came across to Banbury’s side before Chris Phillips expertly used his feet to take the ball over the try line before falling on the ball for another Banbury score. Ed Phillips converted to make it 59-0.
The Banbury pack were back at it again shortly after. Banbury won a penalty and kicked for the corner. Ian Isham was on target in the resulting lineout before gathering the ball at the back of the rolling maul. Eventually the skipper peeled off the back and ran the ball in from out wide to touchdown near the posts. Ed Phillips converted to make it 66-0.
Banbury still had time for one more score and it was a contender for the best try of the game. Ed Phillips tried a cross-field kick which Joe Mills took in full stride after one bounce. He then out sprinted the full-back down the side-line before cutting in to score under the posts and complete his hat-trick just before the full-time whistle. Ed Phillips finished his excellent day with the boot to add another conversion and leave the scores 73-0 at the full-time whistle.
A dominating performance from the Bull’s. It was especially pleasing to see the Bulls keep up the intensity throughout the 80 minutes. Working as hard if not harder at the full-time whistle than at the beginning of the match. Tommy Gray was Banbury’s Man of the Match. He scored two excellent tries and setup two more. The tricky full-back looked dangerous every time he touched the ball and hopefully will continue his great form into the cup final on Thursday.
Speaking to Head Coach Matt Goode after the game:
Was that the best performance of the season? “Definitely not, I think in the first half we let ourselves down. Too many individual errors that we made, including myself. We had a good second half, but it wasn’t our best game.”
Some brilliant tries today, was that individual brilliance or some stuff off the training ground? “As Coach I’m going to say the training ground but no, I thought Tommy was class. Our link up play was better than usual. We’re starting to adapt and bring our A game. Think we were in third gear in the first half and we stepped it up to fourth or fifth for that second half. Sign of a good side, taking your chances and we did that today.”
Especially pleasing to nil them? “That’s two in a row. We’ve been focusing on our defence and it’s been coming along. We’ve got that hunger to keep sides out. For me it’s more pleasing to keep them to 0 than score 73 points.”
Is that good preparation for the big cup final on Thursday? “I said to the boys that this is good prep for the final. We know Swindon are a dogged side. On the flipside maybe its not good prep to have a score line that flattering. We’ve got to make sure we keep our heads. We’ve got to stay grounded because we know Witney are a different kettle of fish. We know their strengths and we know they’re up for it.”
Are the boys buzzing for the final? “Absolutely, there’s a lot of talk amongst us. There’s no denying todays game was second on our mind. We wanted to get through today and make sure we’re focused for Witney. All the boys are ready and looking forward to it.”
Banbury Try Scorers: Joe Mills (3) Tommy Gray (2) Matt Goode, Jimmy Manley, Joe Winpenny, Chris Phillips, Matt Brock, Ian Isham.
15. Tommy Gray (Sponsored by: Edd Frost & Daughters)
14. Jack Briggs
13. Jimmy Manley (Sponsored by: Godiva Insurance)
12. Matt Goode (Sponsored by: Hook Norton Crop Consultancy)
11. Joe Mills (Sponsored by: DTC International)
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. Matt Brock
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. Nick Pratt
17. Sam Carr Archer
18. Tom Burman