S.W.1 EAST: BICESTER 20 OLD PATESIANS 45 by Paul Chrisp
Though Old Patesians were worthy winners of this hard fought end to end contest, the final score did not reflect the tremendous effort made by the entire Bicester squad, to derail the unbeaten league leaders. Despite being 16 points in arrears at half time, Bicester were only 11 points behind, midway through the 2nd period, after scoring their 3rd and final try. However the possibility of attaining at least 1 bonus point, was abruptly blown away, ten minutes from time, when prop Alex Macdonald was sin-binned for failing to roll away at a ruck, and Patesians took full advantage to score 2 more converted tries. Patesians’ kicking both out of hand and off the tee, was far superior to that of Bicester, and their forwards were dominant in the loose play, but Bicester competed admirably in both the scrums and the line-outs, and they defended valiantly.
The Visitors were ahead after 7 minutes, when from a line out on the right, the forwards drove powerfully, with loose head prop James Saunders stretching across to the right of the posts for a try, which full back Lee Hathaway converted for the first of 6 successful attempts, 3 in each half. Then after a mesmeric cross field handling move by Patesians, Hathaway slotted over a 15 metre penalty kick. Bicester replied 2 minutes later, when centre Lemeki Valevou raced clear from a ruck on the right, before flanker Ryan Biscoe’s superb long pass out-wide to the left was recycled back across the field to the right, where Valevou darted across in the corner, for an unconverted try. Biscoe then almost put fly-half Charlie Bethell under the posts, but then a penalty was conceded, and Bethell stroked over the 10 metre kick. 5 minutes from the break, the visitors added two more converted tries to increase their advantage to 16 points. First, no.8 Scott Aldritt powered across from a scrum, and next a penalty fired into touch on the right, before replacement flanker George Angell ploughed across from the driven line-out.
Bicester, playing uphill in the second half, soon reduced their deficit to 9 points. Prop Tom Horwood and centre Valevou worked the ball across the field from a penalty on the right, to Adam Hall wide out on the left, and second row Freddie Myatt cut an excellent diagonal line to the centre, to crash over for a try, which Charlie Bethell also converted. Patesians however were not to be denied, and their forwards drove strongly off 2 successive line-outs, from the 2nd of which, hooker Chris Deane crossed for his side’s 4th and bonus point try. Gallant Bicester however were soon back in contention, with their 3rd try, when a short pass from an attacking Patesians scrum on the left flank was brilliantly intercepted by debutant scrum-half Eddie Roberts, who sprinted 70 metres to the line for an unconverted try. Bicester’s gutsy challenge was effectively ended, 10 minutes from the final whistle, when Alex Macdonald was shown a yellow card and despite a fine tackle by Ryan Biscoe, lock Gethin Evans drove across from a Patesians scrum. Finally, another Biscoe tackle, failed to prevent blind-side flanker Rick Hance, from diving across from another Patesians scrum.
Bicester 2nd XV 36 – 34 Bracknell 3rd XV
(TRIES: J. Preston 2, D. Lawther, S. Barrett, M. Duncalf. CONVS: G.Upton 4. PEN: G.Upton)
Witney 4th XV 47 – 34 Bicester 3rd XV
(TRIES: M. Malins 2, T. Mansfield, S. John, A. Nightingale, J. Harris. CONVS: S. John 2)
FIXTURES Sat 4th NOV:
Bicester vs Oxford Harlequins (AWAY)
Bicester 2nd XV vs Buckingham 2nd XV (AWAY)