Mini Beast From The East Hits Gloucester !
Banbury overcame Old Centralians and the conditions to extend their winning run to 12 games. Dan Brady scored the only try of the game in an 8-0 Bulls victory.
Saintbridge Sports centre, Gloucester - Saturday 17th March 2018
Match report by Alex Inch, photos by Simon Grieve
After two postponements due to a waterlogged pitch it was third time lucky for this fixture. Banbury won the reverse fixture by a single point and only a couple weeks ago Old Cents had beaten Chippenham, so Banbury knew they were in for a tough game. Due to injuries and unavailability’s Banbury made 5 changes to the starting 15 that had won against Salisbury last weekend.
The game kicked off in the minus temperatures with the mini beast from the east bringing a swirling snow shower just before kick-off. Much to the delight of the travelling support. Despite the changes to the team and the conditions, Banbury settled into the game very well.
Dan Brady nearly opened the scoring with a wonderful solo effort if not for a brilliant try saving tackle from Lewis May. Banbury recycled and had numbers out wide, but the ball was cynically knocked on by Old Cents to stop what looked like a certain try. Good defence from Old Cents kept Banbury out before Banbury won a penalty for offside. Ed Phillips kicked Banbury into an early 3-0 lead. The Bulls could feel hard done by to come away with only 3 points after a great start, but they had the early lead.
Freddie Cracknell nearly scored a wonderful try when he burst through the Old Cents line before chipping over the last man. Old Cents cynically pulled him back off the ball and what looked like another nailed on try went begging.
Banbury had another chance after winning a scrum 5 metres out but solid defence from Old Cents managed to keep Banbury out. The Bulls knocked on and Old Cents nearly countered the length of the pitch if not for some brilliant sweeping at the back from Dan Brady who then wriggled his way from 5 metres out to the Banbury 22.
Banbury got the try their play deserved just before half time. Chris Phillips did brilliantly to turn the ball over in the Old Cents half. Banbury got the ball wide quickly and Jimmy Manley made a great break down the right flank before offloading to Matt Goode who quickly whipped the ball on to Dan Brady. The pacey winger capped his excellent first half by sneaking his way down the side-line before scoring in the corner. Ed Phillips couldn’t convert from the side-line to leave the scores 8-0 to Banbury at halftime.
Ian Isham looked like he’d scored late on in the second half, but the referee couldn’t see the grounding and went back for a 5-metre scrum. From the scrum Ed Phillips tried to get the ball down the blind side but George Preece cynically knocked the ball on again resulting in a yellow card for Old Cents. Banbury kept knocking on the door for a late try but Old Cents defence was solid and kept Banbury out up until the final whistle.
The 8-0 score line meant this was never going to be a classic match, but considering the conditions it was an entertaining game of rugby. Both teams defended brilliantly and on a different day with a different bounce of the ball the score line could have been much higher.
Speaking to Head Coach Matt Goode: “We dominated. We butchered a couple of chances, but we dug deep. We knew it was going to be tough. It’s been a long time coming, two postponements. We came here with 18 men. No coaches and we’ve turned over a side that have beaten Chippenham here just recently. I’m really proud of the boys and it shows the quality we have that we can adapt to a different terrain.
On the changes to the team and players adapting to different positions: “We’ve got good enough players that we can adapt to any situation. We came with 3 forwards on the bench and we knew if one of the forwards had to come into the backs they’d be fine. We’re missing some key players in the backs in Sam Stoop, Tommy Gray and Jack Briggs but the guys that have come in and changed positions have done brilliantly. We’ve shown we can win tough games against a very strong opposition.
On the conditions: “It was cold for everybody. It’s just about the way we play. We said it’s about who wants it more and the grit. We love a dry track, but we can dig deep and play in this too.”
On next weeks game at Swindon and finally getting back home for the first time since February 3rd: “We love having that 16th man and we urge as many people from Banbury and the surrounding areas to come down and support the boys. Swindon are fighting for their lives near the bottom of the table and we’re fighting for promotion. That 16th man really helps us and we’re looking forward to getting back home and playing some good rugby.”
15. Joe Mills (Sponsored by: DTC International)
14. Freddie Cracknell (Sponsored by: F M & P Consultancy)
13. Jimmy Manley (Sponsored by: Godiva Insurance)
12. Josh Deegan (Sponsored by: Allsafe Scaffolding)
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. Sam Carr Archer
6. Angus Johnson
7. Matthew Powell
8. Chris Phillips (Sponsored by: Lorne Alway)
16. Ken Key (Sponsored by: Lockwoods Ski and Outdoor)
17. Matt Brock
18. Giles Saar (Sponsored by: Jamie Briggs Removals & Storage)