Banbury Finish League Fixtures In Style !
Banbury Bulls produced a dominating display to run out worthy winner’s vs Witney. A hat-trick from captain Ian Isham helped Banbury secure the 36-19 victory and an 18th win on the spin.
Saturday 21st of April at Witney RFC, Hailey Road
Match report by Alex Inch, photos by Simon Grieve
Jimmy Manley got Banbury off to the perfect start, opening the scoring after 5 minutes. Tommy Gray threw a lovely looping pass to skip two defenders. Jimmy Manley gathered the pass, ducked his way out of a high tackle before smashing his way through two tackles to score in the left corner. Ed Phillips couldn’t convert from the side-line, but Banbury had an early lead, 5-0.
Banbury won a penalty after Witney were penalised for diving in off their feet. Banbury kicked to the corner and Ian Isham found his man in the lineout. The rolling maul was sacked before it could get going but Ian Isham picked up from the base of the ruck to crash over from 5 metres out. Ed Phillips conversion went wide to leave it 10-0 to Banbury.
The Bulls pack combined for another Ian Isham try. Banbury won a scrum against the head, quickly followed by good carries from Chris Phillips, Angus Johnson and Pete Boulton got Banbury to the edge of the try line. Ian Isham picked up from the base of the ruck to crash over for his second of the game. Ed Phillips converted to make it 17-0.
Witney responded almost immediately after the kick off. Quick hands from Charlie Marshall got the ball on to Rhys Morgan who sprinted his way down the side-line to score out to the right. Charlie Marshall hit a tricky conversion to make it 17-7.
Rhys Morgan and Charlie Marshall combined again to score Witney’s second try. Rhys Morgan broke down the side-line and despite more than a suspicion of a foot in touch Witney smartly played to the whistle, Rhys Morgan releasing Charlie Marshall down the right before cutting in to touchdown under the posts. Charlie Marshall converted his own try to make it 17-14 at the halftime whistle.
Ian Isham completed his hat-trick early in the second half. Witney were penalised for being offside and Banbury kicked to the corner. Ian Isham found Kallum Dixey in the lineout before gathering the ball at the back of the rolling maul. Good work from the pack got Ian Isham up to the try line before he dived over. Ed Phillips was off target with the conversion to leave it 22-14.
Banbury had to readjust their backline after Jack Briggs went off with a finger pointing in directions it shouldn’t. Matt Goode switched from fly half to his usual inside centre position and Ed Phillips moved back to flyhalf. Despite the changes Ed Phillips and Matt Goode combined for a lovely score, pulling the Witney defence around before Matt Goode popped a pass to Tommy Gray who burst his way though the gaps to score under the posts. Ed Phillips converted to make it 29-14.
Matt Goode was putting on a skills show in the second half and created a brilliant try. The inside centre was running a charging line but slipped just before contact. Matt Goode picked himself up and charged his way through a gap in the Witney line. He then stepped inside and as the Witney defenders were closing in put a delightful grubber kick to the corner. The ball popped up perfectly for a sprinting Dan Brady to gather and crash over in the corner. Ed Phillips converted from the side-line to make it 36-14.
Witney narrowed the lead in rather unusual circumstances. Witney overthrew a lineout close to the 22 with the ball popping straight up in the air. Gareth Campbell managed to out jump the surrounding players to gather the ball before popping a pass to Tom Puddle who sprinted his way over out to the right. Charlie Marshall’s conversion fell short to leave it 36-19.
Pete Boulton had a try held up over the line and Witney had one held up over the line at the other end to bring up the final whistle. Banbury had done their part in the push for automatic promotion but due to Old Patesians 34-7 victory over Oxford Harlequins it sadly wasn’t to be for the Bulls. Banbury now go into a playoff, away vs Exeter University to see who will going up to the South West Premier Division next season. Ian Isham was Banbury’s man of the match, a hat-trick of tries from the captain capped a wonderful performance leading from the front.
Speaking to Head Coach Matt Goode:
36-19, how would you rate the final game of the regular season? “We asked for 5 points and we got 5 points. We didn’t perform as well as we have done in some recent weeks, but we stuck to our targets and our goals and it’s a good end to the season.”
18 wins in a row now, is it a case of what could have been or delighted with that second half of the season? I’m absolutely delighted in the way the boys have responded and how we’ve been playing. It’s not really a case of what could have been, there’s some good teams in the league, on other days we could have lost some we’d won. The boys have really dug in and worked hard and that’s shows testament to our whole squad.”
Banbury now go into a playoff, likely away to Exeter (now confirmed) the Bulls have a great record in finals though, some thoughts on that? “I said to the boys in the huddle whatever happens next week as a coaching staff we’re immensely proud of the boys. We’ll go out there and play as if we’ve got nothing to lose and see where we are next year.”
Banbury Try scorers: Ian Isham (3) Jimmy Manley, Tommy Gray and Dan Brady.
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. Matt Goode (Sponsored by: Hook Norton Crop Consultancy)
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. Angus Johnson
7. Giles Saar (Sponsored by: Jamie Briggs Removals & Storage)
8. Chris Phillips (Sponsored by: Lorne Alway)
16. Ken Key (Sponsored by: Lockwoods Ski and Outdoor
17. Nick Pratt
18. Tom Burman