SW1 EAST BICESTER 8 OLD CENTRALIANS 39 BY PAUL CHRISP
Though Bicester competed admirably in the forward exchanges once again, with second row Freddie Myatt nominated man of the match, for his excellent work in both the line-outs and the loose play, they lacked the cohesion and understanding of their Gloucester opponents, whose superior support play and ball retention skills, kept the home defence under constant pressure. In addition, 3 of Centralians 5 tries, originated from Bicester mistakes, but Bicester competed bravely to the end, and were unlucky not to be awarded a 2nd try after the break. Biceseter were just 10-8 in arrears after 20 minutes, but Centralians scored their 2nd try and second penalty to turn round 18-8 ahead. Then with the slope in their favour, they ran in 3 converted tries to earn a bonus point victory. Their try scorers were winger Alex Cox and fly half Wayne Mulhearn in the first half and hooker Nathan Stroud, centre Shay Morgan and scrum half Craig Holder after the break. Morgan converted all tries, except the second one by Mulhearn and slotted over 2 first half penalties. For Bicester fly half Charlie Bethell landed a penalty and hooker Will Anns marked his 82nd successive first team game with a try.
The visitors opened the scoring with a penalty by centre Shay Morgan after 4 minutes but straightaway Centralians infringed at a line out and Charlie Bethell replied in kind from 21 metres. Then a sweeping crossfield move from a line out by Centralians ended with centre Alex Cox brushing aside weak Bicester tackling to cross for a try on the left, which Morgan also converted. Soon Bicester kicked a penalty down the right into touch, deep inside the visitors’ half and although they lost the line out, Centralians likewise lost the ball and hooker Will Anns was on hand to snaffle the ball and stretch to the line for a brilliant opportunistic try. Seventeen minutes later, Centralians collected the Bicester clearance kick on the left before executing a slick handling move across the field on the right, where fly-half Wayne Mulhearn raced across for an unconverted try and as half time beckoned Shay Morgan banged over his second penalty goal to give the visitors a 10 point advantage.
Thirteen minutes into the second session, Centralians hooker Nathan Stroud plunged across for an unconverted try, from a line out catch and drive on the left. Immediately the Bicester defence failed to collect a chip ahead by the visitors and the ball was transferred to the left for Shay Morgan to streak across for a try which he again converted. Next Freddie Myatt was held up on the try line, as Bicester drove strongly off a line out up the left side. Centralians no.8 Tim Wilcox was then yellow carded and 4 minutes after his return the visitors struck again just 6 minutes from time when Bicester coughed up possession, before a superb blind-side break from the resulting scrum, by scrum half Craig Holder was rewarded with a converted try wide out on the left.
Bicester 2nd XV v Buckingham 2nd XV - postponed due to absence of referee
Stow 2nd XV HWO Bicester 3rd XV