Bicester welcomed Grove to Oxford Road for the second OBB league game of the season wanting to build on their winning start in the first league game. Bicester although slightly under par produced a performance where their defence more than made up for the lack of lineout ball and normal slick handling to come out on top of a game that was closer than it should have been if Bicester had made the most of its chances.
Kicking down the slope Bicester started at a frantic pace but Grove were up for it and held Bicester at bay. The play for the first 10 minutes was relatively even although Bicester were on the front foot and from a set backs move Jimmy went through the gap only to be halted, as if he had been shot, by a snapped hamstring. Bicester were winning some good ruck ball and the backs were making overlaps only for the final ball not to go to hand. Finally after some good pressure the ball was recycled and down the line to Lewis who sprinted over for the first try which Dan W converted from wide out 7 – 0. However this seemed to galvanise Grove who put pressure on the Bicester line with a number of forward drives and it was only by some outstanding defensive work by Bicester that kept Grove from scoring. After intense pressure Jonny was able to steal the ball and Bicester could clear their lines. Bicester from good field position drove forward and the ball again reached Lewis who went over for his second try 12 – 0 which was how the score remained until half time.
Bicester continued to apply pressure in the second half and from a clearing Grove kick the ball fell to George who went on a mazy run beating several players before being stopped just short. Bicester were not helping themselves with the lineout not functioning and starting to lose the battle in the scrum meaning that go forward ball was difficult to come by. This allowed Grove to make ground and drive around the fringes into the Bicester 22 but infringed at a scrum to give a relieving free kick to Bicester. However some indecision led to Bicester running the ball and knocking on where Grove capitalised and with a missed tackle were able to go over under the posts 12 – 7. Bicester were now being stretched and with some of the forwards blowing hard the rucks were starting to go Groves way. But Bicester runners were still looking dangerous when they could get their hands on the ball and with some nice inter-passing they made their way over the Grove line only to be held up. With some more pressure in the corner the ball was won and whipped down the line with a final long pass finding Ieuan in space where he finished well to increase the score to 17 – 7. Into the final minute of the game and Grove kicked off Bicester caught and countered only to be isolated at the breakdown and concede a turnover which Grove drove on and over to score 17 – 14 and with the final whistle being blown there was relief for Bicester and another league win.
Plenty to work on with a 7/10 performance where winning your own ball at the lineout and better decision making and passing in the backs would have made it an easier day. However the defence in the first half was the difference and really won the game for Bicester with everyone putting a shift in. Man of the Match: Jonny for his ball scavenging. Squad of Liam, Garin, Oscar, Ed, Callum, Jonny, Max, Harrison, Dan B, Adam, Joey, Cameron, Christian, Sam, Lewis, Louis, Mark, George, Rhys, Jimmy, Ieuan and Dan W.