After a month’s break due to the weather it was good to wake up to a sunny morning and the prospect of some rugby, but would the boys remember how to play? Bicester welcomed Buckingham for a return fixture that had been keenly contested earlier in the season, both teams had mixed squads with players playing out of position and who would adapt the best was going to be key in the result.
Play started and Buckingham using their bigger forwards started picking and driving around the rucks making good progress but Bicester defence held firm. Bicester soaked up the pressure and started to make some driving runs themselves. Handling from both sets of backs was difficult with a strong wind causing a number of knock-ons. The game was absorbing with neither side able to make an impression and the sides appeared evenly matched with both defences letting nothing through. However as the first half drew to its end Buckingham were awarded a penalty in the Bicester 22 which they ran through their forwards and just managed to drive over for the first score 0 – 7. Bicester came back and started to up the intensity and from a good run out of defence Dan T was on hand to break through the defensive line and run away to score 5 – 7 to end the first half.
The second half started and it was roles reversed as it was Bicester’s turn to start driving through their forwards and setting good ball which they excellently picked and drove. Both sets of backs were competing in defence and it was stalemate with neither side able to make the breakthrough. However Bicester’s forwards drove the ball deep into the Buckingham 22 where Alfie was on hand to pick up and slip the ball to Max who dived over to score and convert his own try 12 – 7. Bicester were now making better use of the ball and good support was keeping the ball alive to make progress up the pitch. The forwards took the ball on before the ball came out and going blind Max found a gap to run through and score which he again converted 19 – 7. Buckingham were now looking at how they could get back in the game and it needed a bit of individual skill from their fullback who kicked and chased and caught his own kick to run through unopposed to narrow the scores 19 – 14. This led Bicester to increase the tempo and finally they were getting first to the ball and beginning to win the rucks. Go forward was the message and Bicester began to be more direct making inroads into the Buckingham half. Bicester competed and won a good turnover ball which was passed out to Max who with a dummy glided through the defence to score completing his hatrick which he converted 26 – 14. There was just time for Buckingham to exert some pressure but a great double tackle by Louis stopped them and the final whistle was blown.
A real team performance where everyone put in the effort both in attack and defence, especially pleasing given the time since we last played. A solid platform up front against a big side and some stern defence in the backs set up the opportunities which were well taken. Squad of Josh, Alfie, Tom B, Ashley, Oscar, Garin, Adam, Harrison, Dan B, Dan T, Ieuan, Christian, Max, Benjamin, Mark, Ben L, Lewis, Louis, James.