Bulls Secure Promotion Play-Off Spot !
Banbury put the pressure on Old Patesians by taking the promotion race to the final weekend with a dominating 57-31 victory against Wimborne. A first half Tommy Gray hat-trick and braces from Jack Briggs and Dan Brady helped to secure the win.
The DCS Stadium at Bodicote Park - Saturday 14th April 2018
Match report by Alex Inch, photos by Simon Grieve
Tommy Gray got Banbury off to the perfect start, scoring after 30 seconds. The Bulls got the ball wide, Jack Briggs drew his man before shipping the ball on to Tommy Gray who was sprinting down the side-line. The fullback found himself one on one with his opposite number and snuck his way down the side-line with a run he had no right to make. Somehow, he stayed in play, tip-toeing his way down the line before cutting inside to score out to the left. Ed Phillips converted to give Banbury the early 7-0 lead.
It wasn’t long before Tommy Gray had his second try of the game. Banbury had a scrum on the left touchline near the 22. The Bulls got the ball through the hands, switching play from one flank to the other. Tommy Gray exchanged passes with Joe Mills down the right flank before bursting his way round the edge to dive over in the corner. Ed Phillips was off-target with the conversion, but Bulls were in to an early 12-0 lead.
Tommy Gray completed his hat-trick and despite the quality of the first two tries, this might have been the best of the lot. Tommy Gray passed
on to Dan Brady who broke down the left flank and as the defenders closed in, got the ball back to Tommy Gray close to the halfway line. Tommy Gray danced his way out of two tackles before rounding his opposite number and touching down out wide to the left. A breath-taking hat-trick from the flying full-back. Ed Phillips converted from out wide to make it 19-0.
Paul Roberts got Wimborne’s first points, kicking a penalty to make it 19-3 after Banbury were penalised for going off their feet at the breakdown. Banbury were soon back in control though. Wimborne had a scrum 5 metres out which the number 8 tried running out before passing on but there was a mix up in communication as the intended pass went loose. Jimmy Manley was on hand to punish the mistake, scooping the ball up before touching it down out to the right. Ed Phillips couldn’t convert but Banbury had extended the lead to 24-3.
The Bulls had time for one more before the half time whistle. Jack Briggs threw a lovely inside pass to Joe Mills who burst through the Wimborne defensive line. As the defenders closed in, Joe Mills got the ball wide to Jimmy Manley who passed it quickly on to Dan Brady who snuck his way down the side-line before touching down out to the left. Ed Phillips was off target with the conversion to leave it 29-3 at half time.
Wimborne started the second half well and were camped inside the Banbury 22. The penalty count was rising and eventually the referee decided enough was enough and brought out the yellow card for Sam Stoop after he failed to roll away at the breakdown. Despite being a man down Banbury extended the lead with a wonderful try from deep. Jimmy Manley broke a tackle before throwing a beautiful pass out the back of the hand to play in Jack Briggs. The inside centre still had a lot to do but outsprinted the covering defence before breaking out of a tackle from the last man to score out to the right. Ed Phillips converted to make it 36-3.
Wimborne got their first try of the game with a good run from deep after Banbury had cleared their lines. Ryan Maidment drew the last man before playing in Dylan Case who touched down out to the left. Paul Roberts converted to make it 36-10.
Banbury took back control with Dan Brady’s second try of the game. Tom Burman made a good break down the right flank before offloading to Sam Stoop who quickly found Dan Brady. The pacey winger snuck his way in down the side-line before running it in from out wide to touchdown under the posts. Ed Phillips converted to make it 43-10.
Giles Saar made it 3 tries in 3 games when he crossed out to the left. Joe Mills and Tommy Gray combined to get the ball down the left flank before being stopped narrowly short. Giles Saar was running a brilliant line to crash his way over. Ed Phillips converted to bring up the 50 points for Banbury, 50-10.
Wimborne finished with a flurry of late tries. 3 games in a week finally catching up with Banbury as they clearly tired out on the pitch. Ben Davies ran a brilliant line to make the break for Wimborne before offloading to Cameron Taylor who showed why we have post protectors as he and Dan Brady clattered into the base of the post as he scored. Paul Roberts converted to make it 50-17.
Wimborne won a penalty inside the Banbury 22 which they took quickly. Declan Foley sprinted through the Bulls defenders as they struggled to get back and crashed his way over from close range. Paul Roberts converted to make it 50-24.
Suddenly Wimborne could sense the opportunity for a 4 try bonus point. Wimborne turned the ball over on the edge of the 22 and quickly got the ball wide. Paul Roberts broke down the left before drawing the last man and playing in Dylan Case. Despite the best efforts of Dan Brady, Dylan Case went over for his second try of the game. Paul Roberts converted from the side-line to make it 50-31.
Banbury finished the game with a try of their own. Sam Stoop threw a lovely inside pass to Giles Saar who stepped round his opposite man. Finding himself one on one with the full back Giles Saar passed the ball on to Jack Briggs who cut in from out wide to score near the posts. Ed Philips converted to make it 57-31 at the final whistle.
Another 5 points for Banbury and the winning run was extended to 17 games. The Bulls might have been slightly disappointed to concede so many points late on but 3 games in a week was always going to take a lot out of the players. Tommy Gray was Banbury’s Man of the Match. His 3 tries in the first 20 minutes were quality and really set the tone for the Bulls.
Speaking to Head Coach Matt Goode after the game:
Was that a good way to finish the season off at home? “Yeah, lots of tries, lots of great play. Those last 10-15 minutes where we’ve let twenty plus points in shows how much 3 games in a week really takes its toll.”
Some brilliant tries from the backs today, how pleasing was that to see as the Head Coach? “We’ve got the structure and all the different ways that we play in the backs. Whichever defence we come up against we want to find those holes and pick them.”
The Bulls can’t finish any lower than second now, you’ve got it all to gain and nothing to lose. Is that what your going to be telling the boys? “Absolutely, we’re taking on Witney. We’re not going to be thinking about the last few games we’ve played. We’re going to keep improving and working on our structure and I think we’ll be alright.”
Some quick words on Man of the Match: “Obviously Tommy Gray gets the headlines for his three brilliant tries, but I thought Jack Briggs was outstanding, Jimmy Manley was brilliant as well. I think the two centres helped make a lot of the space for the other backs today but Tommy Gray’s efforts were something else.”
Banbury Try Scorers: Tommy Gray (3) Dan Brady (2) Jack Briggs (2) Jimmy Manley, Giles Saar.
15. Tommy Gray (Sponsored by: Edd Frost & Daughters)
14. Joe Mills (Sponsored by: DTC International)
13. Jimmy Manley (Sponsored by: Godiva Insurance)
12. Jack Briggs
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. Joe Winpenny
3. Pete Boulton (Sponsored by: BRUFC SAGA Department)
4. Sam Carr Archer
5. Nick Pratt
6. Kallum Dixey
7. Jacob Mills (Sponsored by: Hire Safe Solutions)
8. Angus Johnson
16. Giles Saar (Sponsored by: Jamie Briggs Removals & Storage)
17. Matt Brock
18. Tom Burman