Bicester Colts travelled to Shipston for their second match of the weekend following the Friday evening game against the Canadian touring side. With a depleted squad and carrying a few injuries Bicester knew they would be up against a strong Shipston unit who narrowly beat them earlier in the season. However determination and good play saw Bicester through to an excellent victory.
A good kick off from Shipston saw them immediately on the front foot but Bicester were up to it and repelled them to exert their own pressure. The game went to and fro with each side trying to find a weakness until Christian saw a gap and made a scintillating break beating several defenders to open the scoring with a well taken try which Dan W converted 0 – 7. This caused Shipston to up their game and Bicester were under pressure but again solid defence held them out and Bicester cleared with a deep kick which was fielded and run back and with a couple of uncharacteristic missed tackles Shipston were allowed to score 7 – 7. It was now Bicester’s turn to press and put pressure on Shipston who cleared the ball but it was Bicester’s turn to field and run back creating the overlap for Louis who with the fullback to beat stepped inside to score with Dan W converting 7 – 14. It was end to end with one team driving forward and then the other. Right on halftime Bicester infringed allowing Shipston to kick a penalty to end the half 10 – 14.
The second half started much as the first half ended with both sides putting pressure on each other and neither wanting to give an inch. It looked likely that Bicester would score only for Shipston to hold them out and break down the pitch where initial good defence stopped them but they recycled and scored in the corner 17 – 14. Shipston looked for another score but good play saw Bicester regain the ball and make progress up to halfway from where Sam put in a clever kick into space rolling over the try line and with only one defender it was a foot race against Lewis with both diving for the ball, it looked like Lewis had got there but without a TMO the referee gave the benefit of doubt to Shipston for a 22 dropout. Bicester caught the restart and set up a ruck from where Adam picked and cleverly went down the blindside and all the way to score in the corner 17 – 19. The game was so close with each team giving their all that tempers flared and the referee had to calm everyone down. Both teams settled and got on with playing rugby, Bicester made progress and Sam put in another kick into space where the follow up was good with Mark regaining possession and with a sweet off load had Lewis round the outside and a clear run in to score with Sam converting 17 – 26. Shipston were not finished and with a series of drives made it into the Bicester 22 where disappointingly some missed tackles allowed them over 24 – 26. With the game finely balanced it went into the final few minutes where Bicester put pressure on Shipston and were awarded a penalty which Sam stepped up and slotted over to hear the final whistle blow and a well deserved 24 – 29 victory.
This Bicester Colts side don’t know when to lie down and whilst carrying injuries from the previous game they put in some hard work to hold out a good Shipston side. The handling in the backs was at its best with out a dropped ball all game and working the overlaps to good effect. The scrums were solid, the lineouts effective and particularly pleasing was the use of the ICE call. Man of the Match: Louis for a well taken try and all round pitch performance. Squad of: Max, Oscar, Callum, Dan B, Ashley, Joey, Adam, Cameron, Christian, Dan W, Lewis, Sam, Mark, Louis, Michael, Ieuan