S.W.1 EAST OXFORD HARLEQUINS 20 BICESTER 7 – PAUL CHRISP
Another strong forward effort by Bicester was insufficient to prevent their 3rd successive defeat in this hard-fought contest at Marston-Ferry Road. Though lively centre Shaun Reddish was named man of the match, the visitors’ back division failed to penetrate a very well drilled Harlequins defence, and their kicking from hand lacked both command and precision. Quins led 10-0 at half time, before Bicester reduced their arrears to 3 points with a try by no.8 Wes Westaway, 8 minutes into the 2nd period. Quins then scored 2 more tries, both of which stemmed from misdirected Bicester clearance kicks, to take the spoils.
Quins centre Huw Dimond slotted over a 30 metre penalty goal after 8 minutes, and following good play by Bicester’s Charlie Bethell, Eddie Roberts and Francois Wiese, fly-half Sam Richardson was off target with a 35 metre kick, a few moments later. A period of Quins pressure in the Bicester half followed, before Wes Westaway was sin-binned for a ruck infringement, 20 minutes from the break, and from a 5 metre scrum on the right, quins no.8 Fotu Latu stretched over for a try, which Dimond also converted.
Bicester bounced back early in the 2nd half, when Westaway carried strongly from a scrum near half-way and a penalty award was kicked into touch on the right. Then, as good clean ball was secured at the tail of the line-out, the forwards drove on towards the right of the posts, before centre Max Valevou broke from the ensuing scrum, and from another 5 metre scrum no.8 Wes Westaway burrowed across for a try, which Sam Richardson converted. Moments later, Dimond fluffed a penalty chance from close to the 22 metre line, but straightaway a misdirected clearance kick by Bicester full back Charlie Bethell, was collected by Quins no.8 Fotu Latu, who sprinted down the left flank to cross for an unconverted try, his 2nd of the afternoon.
Shortly afterwards, Harlequins’ tight head prop Cris Davis and Bicester blind side flanker Jack Horwood exchanged punches, and both were red carded by Suffolk referee George Littlechild. Finally, right at the end, as Quins forwards drove to the line, from a driven line-out on the left, excellent defence by Bicester earned them a scrum, but alas, Charlie Bethell’s clearance kick went straight to the hands of right wing Ed Yeats on the other side, and he raced in unchallenged to touch down in the corner for an unconverted try.
Buckingham 2nd XV 49-21 Bicester 2nd XV (TRIES: R. Gallacher, D. Lawther, O. Dolbear. CONVS: G. Upton 3)