Bicester travelled to Banbury for the Oxon 10’s unfortunately only being able to field one team due to player unavailability. Bicester were in the A competition and in their group they had Banbury, Oxford, Henley and Grove with each game lasting 7 minutes each way.
1st Game vs Oxford
Bicester started brightly and from the kick-off Dan T took the ball forward and Cameron drove on before the ball went out to Lewis who showed his pace to score on the outside with Christian converting 7 – 0. Things looked good and Bicester, normally slow starters, took the game to the opposition and after some good counter rucking won the ball to be spun down the line for Lewis to score out wide 12 – 0. At this stage the game was for the taking but Bicester relaxed and let Oxford come back at them, and following a series of penalties the referee awarded a controversial penalty try, with Oxford missing the conversion 12 - 5. Bicester went through a very scrappy period and Oxford scored their second try out wide 12 – 10. Bicester held on and now with their discipline restored defended well to keep Oxford out. Final score 12 – 10.
2nd Game vs Henley
Following the cup win last week Bicester again met Henley but in very different climatic conditions. Bicester were in determined mood after the close call of the first game and soon were pressurising the Henley line and following a forward drive Dan T ripped the ball and rolled off the back and over for the first score with Ieuan converting 7 – 0. Bicester again pressed but could not get over and just before half time against the run of play Henley broke through to score under the posts 7 – 7. But Bicester put this to one side and from the 2nd half kick-off Josh caught the ball and ran at Henley with defenders scattering in front of him until near the line he was caught but expertly off loaded to Dan T who was up in support, he then passed back to Josh who dived over to score with Ieuan converting 14 – 7. Henley didn’t know what had hit them and soon the ball was won for Lewis to again out pace everyone to score 19 – 7. What followed was the best try of the match, from deep inside the Bicester half the ball was run up the left wing to the Henley 10 metre line where it was superbly recycled with quick ball flowing to the right wing where Tom C rounded the last defender to score with Ieuan converting 26 – 7. This was the final score of the game.
3rd Game vs Grove
Watching the other games we knew this would not be easy against a vastly improved Grove team. However Bicester were back to their commanding best and soon took control of the game. Good hands and some excellent recycling soon had Dan T striding over with Ieuan converting 7 – 0. The next play saw Bicester stripping the ball from Grove and when Dan T was tackled he popped it up to Ben L in support to run in with Ieuan converting 14 – 0. But credit to Grove they didn’t give up and put pressure on Bicester and a clearing kick was miscued straight to a Grove player who ran in unopposed 14 – 5. However Bicester resorted back to the basics and soon restored their lead as the ball came back for Cameron D to pick up and dive over 19 – 5. There was still time for Bicester to win more ball and it was passed down the line for Lewis to outstrip the cover defence to score with Ieuan converting 26 – 5 as the final whistle went.
4th Game vs Banbury
This final game saw both teams start undefeated and ended up a classic. Bicester started by giving Banbury too much respect which allowed them to work some good moves and scored three identical tries moving the ball down the line for the overlap to go into a 0 – 15 lead. Bicester started to wake up and with the next Banbury move the cover defence was across to tackle them into touch rather than let them score. So Bicester went into half time 0 – 15 down but starting to play as they can. The second half was all Bicester and the support play and off-loads were a joy to watch, the ball came out to Lewis who impressed the crowd again with his pace to score 5 – 15. Banbury just couldn’t get their hands on the ball but defended well until the Bicester pressure told and after a series of drives, off-loads the ball went down the line for Mark to show his pace to score 10 -15. There was no more time but Bicester marched into the semi-final with their tails up after a stunning second half.
Semi-final vs Wallingford
Another hard game against the top side from the other pool awaited Bicester in this semi-final. The boys were feeling the heat and hard rugby and there were a few aches and pains to run off but they started well taking the ball to Wallingford but a couple of knock-ons allowed Wallingford some possession which they turned into points 0 – 7. Bicester wouldn’t be dominated and tried to run the ball but in a tackle the ball went loose and a Wallingford player grabbed it and ran through to score 0 – 12 as the halftime whistle went. Bicester again picked it up the second half and had chances to score just to be stopped and then some good driving and support allowed Lewis to score 5 – 12. Desperate defence from Wallingford held Bicester out until the ball was run down the line with Mark not quite getting there but managing to pass out to Lewis to cross wide out 10 – 12. A very difficult conversion was needed and Ieuan made a good attempt just for it to sail wide. Wallingford were rattled and very slowly reformed for the kick-off trying to run the clock down, the referee called last play and Wallingford booted the ball in to touch to just hold on, final score 10 -12.
Overall a very satisfying days rugby of which the boys can be proud, the standard of play was consistently high and finished their games against Banbury and Wallingford in the ascendancy. Well played to the whole squad; Alfie, Max, Josh, Tom B, Harrison, Adam, Ashley, Dan T, Cameron, Christian, Ieuan, Ben L, Tom C, Mark, Lewis