After being on the wrong side of the score last week Bicester travelled to Andover hoping for better things, although with a depleted squad due to half term and with two new players Drew and Alex. The Bicester team arrived early and set about a focussed warm up on a perfect day for rugby. Andover having a number of reserves agreed to a game of three 20 minute periods, which with Bicester only having one replacement meant a full effort was required.
From the kick off Bicester showed their intent and drove hard at Andover but a couple of knock-ons and an offside allowed Andover into the game. Bicester kept the pressure on with the rucking particularly impressive the ball being recycled until finally with a drive, set and ruck the ball was popped short to Dan T who strode over for the first score, finely converted by Christian 7 – 0. Bicester had more chances to score but could not make it over playing mostly in the Andover half until a missed tackle allowed the Andover winger to make a break finally being brought down in the Bicester 22. However on trying to keep up with play the referee pulled a muscle and so a break in play was needed as a substitute referee was found. The break didn’t seem to affect Bicester who again took the game to Andover but good defence kept them out. Bicester were awarded a penalty which was kicked into the corner for a lineout 5 metres out. A good throw and catch allowed Ashley to drive for the line where he was held up but he kept his legs pumping and with three Andover players hanging on he forced his way over the line to score his first try for the club 12 – 0 to end the first period of play.
The second period started with Andover in a more determined mood and they forced Bicester back but excellent defence kept them out and turned the ball over which Bicester ran deep in their own 22 with Tom C taking a positive running line to break through before passing down the line for Lewis on the overlap to finish for the best move of the match, Christian again converting 19 – 0. Bicester stepped off the pace at this stage and allowed themselves to get isolated and gave away a penalty near their line which Andover took full advantage of by driving over to score 19 – 7. This was a wake up call and Bicester made up for the lapse by again good forward driving rugby that took the ball all the way up the pitch before a final drive saw Dan T go over 24 – 7. Andover never gave up and came right back at Bicester earning a penalty which they quickly ran to go over and end the second period 24 – 12.
Bicester came out for the third period stung by the Andover try and began to build dominance in both scrum and lineout. Some of the decision making in the backs was not at its best which allowed Andover to stifle the good possession that Bicester were having. Again a series of forward drives, good support and excellent rucking took Bicester up to the Andover line where Alfie picked up and from 2 metres out no one was going to stop him 29 – 12. To round off an impressive display of rugby from Bicester Max made a step inside and then outside of the defence to run through and under the posts to score which Christian converted 36 – 12 to end the match.
A much better day of rugby where the defence was much more solid and the forwards back to their best in rucking and driving forward. Handling was improved but if the wings had seen more of the ball the score could have been greater. Good performances from the whole squad with a special well done to our debutants Alex and Drew. Squad of Josh, Alfie, Drew, Ashley, Dan T, Alex, Garin, Mark, Cameron D, Christian, Max, Lewis, Tom C, Cameron H, Benjamin, Ethan.