Bicester Colts entertained a High School touring side Sarnia Collegiate from Canada on a bright and sunny Friday evening. Sarnia had only been playing rugby for the last two years and wanted to see how far they had come (other than 10,000 miles!) in their development. They gave Bicester a good game especially upfront but teamwork and fitness told in the end as Bicester ran out worthy winners in a highly entertaining game played in an excellent spirit.
Sarnia kicked off and with a good catch and drive Bicester made ground where Will (an U16 debutant for the Colts) with a good pick up made a telling break being just stopped in the Sarnia 22 where he gained a penalty. With a quick tap a slick backs move had Louis sprinting into the corner to score 5 – 0. Sarnia responded through their forwards and started to pressure Bicester winning a turnover and then a penalty from which they drove over to level the scores 5 – 5. Again good Sarnia pressure saw them threaten the Bicester line but stern defence held them out. From a Bicester scrum the ball was lost allowing Sarnia to pick up and drive over for a converted score 5 – 12. Bicester suddenly realised that they were in a game and raised their intensity going close to a score just for Sarnia to regain the ball and break out down the pitch but good Bicester rucking won the ball and Adam with a pick and go broke close in and outstripped the defenders to run in from halfway with Sam converting 12 – 12. Again Bicester worked their way into the Sarnia half and from a scrum Dan W worked the blind side drawing the winger before passing to Lewis who scored in the corner with a great conversion from Dan W 19 -12. Bicester were now in the ascendancy and made good ground and were just held up in the corner. From the Sarnia lineout the ball went loose and Jonny was first to react to pick the bouncing ball and drive over with Dan W converting 26 – 12 to end the half.
The second half saw Bicester giving away a couple of silly penalties which allowed Sarnia to make good ground. The Sarnia forwards were now exerting some pressure at the rucks and driving Bicester off the ball and finally with another forward drive they went over to score 26 – 17. This galvanised Bicester who looked to attack and some great play by both backs and forwards ended with Dan W scoring and converting 33 – 17. Sarnia weren’t finished and again made ground through their forwards but Bicester responded with some direct running and better rucking which allowed Cameron to attack the 10 channel and break through to score with Dan W converting 40 – 17. Bicester kept the pressure on and with good hands made ground up to the Sarnia line and with the ball recycled Callum drove over to score with another Dan W conversion 47 – 17. Sarnia were still trying to play rugby and made their way up into the Bicester half before Harrison grabbed the ball and set off on a long run for the line where he met a defender but with a fantastic one handed offload to Jimmy the move ended in a deserved score which Dan W converted 54 – 17. With the light fading this proved to be the final score in a keenly fought game where credit must go to the Canadian side who never gave up and showed some great rucking techniques.
The after match celebrations will be well remembered and the friendly nature of the Sarnia Collegiate squad made for a great match and evening. Bicester really appreciated the opportunity to play and socialise with rugby players from a different country and continent where they were given an initial scare before running in the tries. It was also good to integrate three U16s into the Colts with Will, Dowie and Kyle making their debuts and a good contribution. Man of the Match: Dan W selected by the opposition. Squad of: Ed, Garin, Max, Callum, Adam, Cameron, Ashley, Harrison, Joey, Dan B, Jonny, Christian, Sam, Lewis, Mark, Laith, Michael, Louis, Dan W, Jimmy, Ieuan, Will, Dowie, Kyle