Bicester entered this Oxon Plate semi-final with several injury worries, but on a very damp (well extremely soggy) morning the boys showed how rugby should be played. The forwards started the game at a ferocious pace and put Henley under pressure both at scrum time and in the loose. After a couple of near misses it wasn’t long before Dan T picked up a loose ball and drove through the Henley defence to cross for the first score 5 – 0. From the re-start Bicester gathered and set off back into the Henley half where they applied the pressure again. A couple of penalties allowed Henley to clear their lines but Bicester ran the ball back at them. Some excellent counter rucking won clean ball for Christian to pass out and good hands down the line allowed Lewis to cross wide out 10 – 0. A poor kick-off allowed Bicester to gather the ball and break down the right wing deep into the Henley 22 before the cover defence could close Bicester down. However Henley just could not break out of their own half and the ball popped up for Lewis to drive through and over the line to score with a defender clinging on 15 – 0. The half ended with Bicester again pressing for more points.
The second half started with Bicester now playing up the hill and into the wind, was it going to be a game of two halves? No! Almost immediately Bicester won some good ball and with the backs showing great handling in the cold and wet conditions the ball went out to Tom C who running straight broke through the defence to score under the posts converted by Dan W 22 – 0. By now Bicester seemed to be getting stronger and from a scrum Mark picked up and linked well with Cameron D to make the hard yards, from the ruck Josh picked up and ran at Henley laying off an excellent pass to allow Dan T to run through the gap to score 27 – 0. Play was disrupted for a couple of Bicester injuries and changes had to be made, but instead of stopping the flow Bicester continued to impress. A scrum was won and the ball was swung wide for Mark, now in the centre, to arc around the Henley defence to score 32 – 0. A couple of minutes later the final whistle went to end a controlled and determined performance from Bicester, final score 32 – 0.
The boys can be proud of their performance in very difficult conditions, both in attack and defence Bicester did the basics right and provided a platform to allow our runners to drive forward. Well done boys, the final to look forward to now. Squad: Josh, Alfie, Tom B, Ashley, Dan T, Cameron, Max, Mark, Christian, Dan W, Cameron H, Ben L, Tom C, Lewis, James, Alan, Harrison, Garin, Adam, Ethan