No one could fault the commitment shown by the Bicester 2nds team who started the game with a bare 15 man squad this week to face Maidenhead 3rds. It was always going to be a hard fought game and both sides were pretty evenly matched in both set pieces and open play. On a hot day with a dry pitch, the game was fast and Bicester took an early lead with a penalty taken by James Holten in the first 10 minutes. Bicester came close on several occasions but could not make the breakthrough they needed to set them on their usual pattern of driving forward play followed by a devastating finish from th backs. Maidenhead scored just before the halftime break to nudge into a 5 - 3 lead.
Maidenhead were impressive after halftime and they executed a number of well orchestrated moves to build a 20 point lead. The second half injuries then started to take its toll. First off was 2nd row Dan Horwoord with a rib injury who was replaced after a ten minte gap by Colt brother Tom (- thanks Tom we know you only came to watch your brother). Centre James Holten suffered a nasty eye injury 10 minutes later and was forced to retire and Marc Olah rapidly followed with a second head injury that required him to leave the game. Despite the depletion in the side with no more subs available and down to 13 men , they remained threatening and their forward game continued to cause Maidenhead problems. Anthony Lewis along with Max and Mats the two Fijians in the side had always been dangerous so it was not surprising that a sudden attacking spurt from the Fiji duo and rapid offloading saw Lewis go over for Bicester's only try of the game. Well done to David " Kiwi Dave" Ahu-Gooch who won man of the match. Playing out of position at hooker his breaking and commitment was consistent from the start. Winger Paul Johnson continues to be an asset to the side. New to the game last season he improves every match.
This is only the third game the 2nds have lost in the past year and there was considerabe speculation as to whether things would have been different if the squad were up to full strength and able to field substitutes to fill the injury gaps. Speculation aside they showed that they are a squad with a great sense of mutual support and resilience. This is a new league and the quality of rugby at a much higher standard than they faced last year. There was one simple lesson learnt and conclusion from losing today - the team have enormous potential, capacity and ability and will be an uncompromising and dangerous oppositon to any team in this league