Having lost to Quins in the Cup first round Bicester had a point to prove in this Oxon County Plate final and they did that in emphatic style! On a warm sunny day with the ground very firm an open running game was exactly what Bicester wanted.
The 1st half started with Quins going on the offensive and Bicester, notoriously slow starters, had their work cut out to defend their line. But the boys dug deep and tackled everything that was in front of them. The pressure was soaked up with great defence right on the line ending with a 22 drop out to Bicester who took it quickly, rather too quickly, with the ball landing in the Quins wingers arms for him to run in unopposed 0 – 5.
But the increasing maturity and belief in this Bicester team meant that they put this behind them and immediately came back at Quins winning good ruck ball and running the ball down the line. From one of these Bicester ran the ball into the Quins 22 and when they were stopped the forwards put on a fantastic drive taking them over the Quins tryline just for the ball to be held up. From the resulting scrum Mark picked up at No.8 and drove over to score 5 – 5.
This was the signal for Bicester to start exerting the pressure and playing some team rugby. Ashley won a lineout down to Cameron D who drove forward, the ball was set before it was passed down the line for Lewis on the wing to finish off 10 – 5. This is how it remained until half time.
The 2nd half saw Bicester upping the intensity with every player making those extra metres to make the tackle or secure the ball. A series of drives with the ball being recycled took Bicester deep into the Quins half until close to the line Dan T rolled off the back and over for a try which was converted by Dan W 17 – 5.
By now Quins were living off the scraps from Bicester mistakes and over elaboration but they could not make any inroads as Bicesters defence stayed firm. Bicester went back to basics and some fine counter rucking won the ball which was quickly passed down the line for Lewis to round the defence and score under the posts with Dan W converting 24 – 5.
Bicester again made headway into the Quins half with backs and forwards running straight and driving through. Bicester looked as though they were going to score again but knocked on just before the line. But with the front 5 putting pressure in the scrum the ball was won against the head for Ieuan to snap up and dive over 29 – 5.
By now Quins were trying to run any ball they had but the defence was solid and the pressure on the ball carrier forcing errors which Bicester capitalised on. Another series of drives, offloads and quick recycling of the ball took Bocester close to the Quins line for Dan T to again roll off the back and through three defenders to score 34 – 5.
There was no more time and the final whistle went with the score remaining at 34 – 5.
The whole squad contributed to what was a really great display of team rugby with backs and forwards linking and playing their part. This season has seen the boys develop into a tight unit where the confidence in their own and their teammates abilities has shown a real improvement and the playing of some exciting rugby. Well done to you all! Squad: Josh, Alfie, Tom B, Ashley, Dan T, Max, Cameron, Mark, Ieuan, Dan W, Lewis, Tom C, Ben L, Cameron H, Rhys, Harrison, Garin, Ed, Benjamin, Oscar, Alan