MATCH REPORT: Bicester v Grove
By Paul Jaggers
@BicesterRUFC, @GroveRFC, #UpTheFox
S.W.1 EAST BICESTER 13 GROVE 14 BY PAUL CHRISP
In and evenly contested game, Grove took their chances well in the first half to score 2 converted tries, and turn round with a 14-3 advantage. On the stroke of half time, Bicester replacement forward Francois Wiese was sin-binned for retaliation, following a high tackle by Grove, and despite playing uphill in the 2nd period, the hosts held their try line intact in the crucial first 10 minutes, before Grove centre Guy Nicoll was, likewise, yellow carded 8 minutes later. Bicester then bounced back to score 2 tries, during his temporary absence, through Dan Spencer and Charlie Bethell, but neither was converted, and Grove survived fierce late pressure by the hosts to scrape home by just 1 point. Flanker Jack Horwood was named 'man of the match' for another fine all-round performance, whilst fellow back row player Freddie Myatt was also outstanding in the loose play, but Bicester suffered the loss of second row Will Thurlow, with a broken bone in his left foot, during the second half. The hosts staged a much more improved performance, and won the penalty count 13-3, but are still bottom of the league, 4 points behind Marlow who they visit next Saturday.
Grove went ahead after 22 minutes, recycling a quick ball from a line-out, up the centre of the field, before centre Connor Hull chipped ahead on the left, for winger Ben Davis to pick up and race across for a try, converted by fly-half Dave Maryon. 4 minutes later, Bicester centre Dan Spencer was off-target with a penalty kick from the 22 metre line, but straightaway as Myatt drove powerfully, Dan Spencer made amends, slotting over a 23 metre penalty goal. Seven minutes ensued, before Grove worked the ball up the middle from a scrum, and Ben Davis latched on to a chip ahead on the left, crossing for his second try, which Dave Maryon again converted. Eight minutes after Francois Wiese returned to the field, Grove's Guy Nicholl was sin-binned, and immediately, superb driving off a scrum by Bicester forwards, on the right, culminated in centre Dan Spencer stretching across for an unconverted try. Soon a Grove assault was aborted, and Bicester counter attacked brilliantly, as replacement Charlie Bethell, caught a loose ball, close to his own 22 line on the left, before kicking ahead, and winning the chase to pick up again, and dart across for a spectacular try, wide out on the left side. Just before the end, first, centre Dan Spencer, and then winger Adam Hall broke sharply from 2 successive scrums, but visitors Grove held on to their wafer thin lead.
Bicester 2nd XV v Witney 3rd XV (away) - Match postponed due to absence of referee
Bicester 3rd XV 8 – 15 Abingdon 2nd XV (try: Craig Smith, Pen: Stuart John)