Bicester travelled down to Bracknell with a depleted squad for this friendly against a team with a large squad. The game was split into 3 periods of 25 minutes to allow for different combinations to be tried out. Bicester came up against a very well drilled Bracknell side and found ball difficult to win in the set pieces but battled throughout the game although suffering several injuries.
The first period started with Bracknell on the offensive but solid tackling by Bicester kept them at bay. The referee spotted an offside by Bicester in their 22 and Bracknell slotted over a successful kick 3 – 0. Bicester came back through some good driving play and began to make progress with a series of good rucks. The backs were trying to run the ball and found a couple of gaps but also a couple of loose passes to allow Bracknell back into the game. A Bicester scrum near to the line was lost and Bracknell picked up to go over for the first try 10 – 0. Whilst Bicester were now on the back foot they still made some progress into the Bracknell half only for a loose ball to be hacked through with the Bracknell player looking the most likely to win the chase Lewis showed his speed to get back and touch down. Bracknell carried out a series of drives at the Bicester line only to held back and finally held up over the line. From the resulting 5 metre scrum Bracknell again picked up to go over for the final score of the period 17 – 0.
The second period started again with Bicester repelling the Bracknell attacks until a loose ball allowed Bracknell through the gap to score 22 – 0. Bicester now suffered three injuries which disrupted their formation and required Bracknell to lend a player (with thanks). Some quick ball allowed an overlap with the Bracknell winger in at the corner 29 – 0. Bicester tackling was at a high standard not allowing Bracknell through and even counter rucking to win some loose and scrappy ball. The backs were not seeing a platform to attack from and spent some time seeking their way out of the 22. Another penalty was conceded and again Bracknell slotted the kick over 32 – 0. Bicester were battling for everything and Dan B seized the ball, beat his man and went on a 50 metre run drawing the fullback and passing to Adam up in support. With the cover closing in Adam passed back to Dan B who was just caught on the line and Bracknell were able to scramble the ball away. A good end to the second period.
The third period saw Bicester up against it with the scrum going backwards and the lineouts not functioning it was hard to get hands on the ball. But again the defence was outstanding and there was no way through for Bracknell. Twice Bracknell went over the line for the ball to be held up and the subsequent 5 metre scrums were repelled. Finally tired legs told and a Bracknell runner broke through a tackle to score 39 – 0. Bicester kept going to the final whistle and did not allow Bracknell another score.
Despite the numbers and injuries Bicester never gave up in a bruising encounter against a very good Bracknell squad. From attack in Bicester’s first game to defence in this game we have now seen both sides. If Bicester can continue and put both of these together some teams are in for a surprise! Man of the Match: Dan W for some great defensive work. Squad of Max, Oscar, Garin, Ed, Callum, Ashley, Harrison, Dan B, Adam, Mark, Christian, Sam, Lewis, Rhys, George, Louis, Dan W and Ieuan.