Bicester travelled down the M40 to High Wycombe for a recently arranged ‘friendly’ against a club going well in the OBB Leagues. Bicester’s small squad came up against the much larger High Wycombe squad where fresh legs could be a telling factor. However Bicester’s cohesive plays and never give up attitude proved to be the winner in a game that simmered and occasionally exploded.
The first half saw both teams trying to gain the upper hand which neither could achieve with both sides showing good technique in defence. High Wycombe were targeting the fringes with forward drives which Bicester repelled whilst Bicester looked to run the ball wide where High Wycombe were able to cover. So the majority of the game was played in the middle of the pitch with neither side threatening to score. However as half time approached Bicester made good ground into the High Wycombe 22 winning a lineout on the 5 metre line. A good catch allowed the ball to go wide where High Wycombe were caught offside. From the penalty Bicester drove at the line, the ball recycled and Dan W popped up to go through a couple of tacklers to score 0 – 5. Bicester now had their tails up and started making inroads deep into the oppositions half, but a loose ball bounced up to the High Wycombe centre who ran 60 metres through some half-hearted Bicester attempts at tackles to score under the posts to give High Wycombe a 7 – 5 lead at half-time.
The second half had High Wycombe steaming out of the blocks but again good defence by Bicester held them out. Given the wet conditions there was a period of loose play from both sides where mistakes were stopping any continuity in the play phases. Bicester showed their normal maturity and patience keeping to their gameplan and with Sam orchestrating things from flyhalf they began to exert some real pressure on High Wycombe pinning them back with intelligent kicks to the corners which were chased up to put pressure on the opposition who could not get out of their half. The lineouts were working well for Bicester and from one Joey drove to the line and with the ball recycled Christian burrowed over to score with Sam converting 7 – 12. Bicester were now on the front foot being the first to every loose ball and really pressurising the High Wycombe back line. Another positional kick to the corner with a good chase gave Bicester a lineout on the 5 metre line, but a not straight gave High Wycombe a scrum and the chance to clear their lines with the flyhalf standing deep in the dead ball area but he dropped the pass and Christian as quick as a flash dived on the loose ball to score his second try with Sam converting 7 – 19. It now seemed that it was Bicester who had the fresher legs as they combined as a team both in defence and attack to keep the pressure on High Wycombe. Another penalty and a catch and drive from the lineout saw Bicester go close where High Wycombe were offside, and with Bicester running the ball Max bulldozered over from 5 metres for the final score which Sam converted 7 – 26.
Bicester again showed their patience and belief in themselves by soaking up the pressure and then building the momentum to make the most of their opportunities. Given the wet conditions the handling in the backs and the forwards lineouts, scrums and pod work was excellent with everyone making a contribution. Man of the Match: Sam for his leadership and overall game play. Squad of: Max, Garin, Callum, Ed, Ashley, Jonny, Harrison, Joey, Dan B, Adam, Cameron, Christian, Sam, Lewis, Mark, George, Louis, Laith and Dan W.