SCN BICESTER 50 GOSFORD ALL BLACKS 22 – BY PAUL CHRISP
In an entertaining fast open contest, Bicester’s ability to recycle the ball at a greater pace from the set pieces, resulted in this emphatic well-deserved victory. However despite their ruthless finishing prowess, gaps often appeared in their defence, which the enterprising Gosford backs exploited well, scoring 2 tries in each half in reply to the Bicester total of 8 tries. Man of the Match, winger Peter Tarrega scored 2 first-half tries, as Bicester turned round 17-12 ahead. With the slope in their favour, the host then ran in a further 5 tries, to earn a bonus point win, which keeps them in 2nd place behind Marlow, but 10 points ahead of both Aylesbury and Buckingham. Full back Charlie Bethell also crossed for 2 tries, and Tom Miles added 5 conversions, whilst fly-half Harry Sutton scored a hat-trick of tries for Gosford, who were also well-served by centre Jack Briggs and full back Ben Bodinham. The visitors scrummage too, was solid throughout but Bicester were dominant in the line-outs, wining 3 in both periods of play, on the Gosford throw.
Bicester took the lead after 18 minutes when winger Tevita Naleca’s long clearance to the right was collected by a Gosford defender before his attempted return kick was charged down by Bicester fly-half and captain Dave Hampton, who swept in at the right corner for a try, which Miles also converted. The Bicester defence then failed to gather a chip kick through the middle and Harry Sutton pounced quickly to race under the posts for a try. Winger tim Ellis converted and straightaway, from a line-out on the left, Bicester winger Naleca broke sharply, before the ball was spun across the field to the right flank, where Tarrega streaked across. Miles again converted, but immediately Harry Sutton picked a lovely line in the centre to sprint over in the right corner for an unconverted try. Just before half time, Dave Hampton gathered a Gosford clearance kick on the right, before launching a cross-field break, for Naleca to successfully control a wayward pass in the centre and put Peter Tarrega across on the left, for his second try. Miles was off target with the conversion attempt.
Bicester extended their lead to 14 points, 14 minutes after the break, after stealing the visitors line-out ball on the right, and Hampton, Miles, and prop George Withers combined to send full-back Charlie Bethell screaming in at the left corner. Miles added the extras and shortly after, as Bicester attacked down the right from a scrum, a superb back-handed flick pass from Tevita Naleca, sent centre Lemeki Valevou darting across for a try, converted again by Miles, from the 22 metre line on the right. Bicester were now in total control now, and from a scrum near half-way, Tevita Naleca shimmied past several defenders to the posts. Miles easily converted and the rout continued, when a Gosford pass was fumbled and Charlie bethel pounced on the loose ball to chip ahead, collect and touch down for an unconverted try.
To their credit Gosfor refused to rollover and following some slick handling by their backs in the centre and on the right, lock Rich Tyler stretched across for an unconverted try. A few minutes later, the visitors claimed a well earned bonus point, when the ball again spread out wide to the right to gift Harry Sutton his 3rd try of the match. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful. Bicester were not yet finished and right at the end after prop Tom Horwood stole Gosford’s possession at the tail of a line-out, Tom Miles kicked a penalty into touch, then as the ball was transferred into the centre, lock Ryan Gallacher drove powerfully to the posts. He was held up but Georg Withers was on hand to send hooker Will Anns scampering across to the left. Miles struck the right upright with his conversion kick.
25th March Bicester v High Wycombe (away)