A sunny day on a firm surface (no slip ups – Wembley take note!!) saw two well matched sides produce an excellent spectacle.
With their sadly characteristic slow start once again on view, Bicester found themselves 5 – 0 down after only 4 minutes. A Wycombe line was switched back to the short side, the Bicester front row were AWOL and the big Wycombe 22 showed an amazing turn of speed to run past a few weak tackles to score.
From the restart JG put pressure on the Wycombe catcher and his disruption eventually lead to a scrum in the middle of the Wycombe 22. Bicester pilled on the pressure, but excellent defence from Wycombe kept them out, holding up the player over the line three times. 5m Scrum number 4 saw the ball inches short, James N picked and drove was this his first try of the season, of course not – it was held up – again!
5m Scrum number 5, a clean strike, Ed picked, targeted the centre and knocked a hole through the middle of him to level the scores. JG missed the conversion. 5 – 5.
The game seemed to spend the next few minutes between the two 22s, with neither team managing to breach the defence. Then Wycombe shifted the ball quickly, their dangerous full back took it at pace, the Bicester defence evaporated in a cloud of missed tackles and Wycombe scored under the posts. Conversion kicked, 12 – 5 at half time.
A raft of changes at half time saw Tim in more familiar territory at full back and James N at what is becoming familiar territory at 9. Great harrying work by Cammy destroyed what was looking like a good Wycombe attack. Quick ball put Anthony Iveson in space who eventually found Sam in support. Sam showed once again how good his hands can be and put PJ through to score. 12 – 10
A few more changes saw Captain reliable back on – this time playing 10 and instantly causing problems for the Wycombe backs. Quick ball from the scrum put JG in space, Marcus was found on the wing and just bundled into touch. Line out won and several phases saw Bicester inside the Wycombe 22 again. Scrum half Nellis was at the bottom of the ruck and surprise of the day – Sam picked the ball, put in a huge spin pass to JG. James saw the Wycombe full back out of position, chipped over and sprinted like an express to score between the posts, would BJ make the conversion or would he resort to Wadebridge style? Ben succeeded! 12 – 17 with about 15 minutes to go.
Wycombe responded immediately. Pressure on the restart saw them turn over the ball and a few moments later they crossed under the posts and with the conversion kicked, edged themselves back in front 19 – 17.
The Bicester nerves were starting to strain, would this one get away? Not if Sam was having anything to do with it. Again several phases of play saw the Wycombe defence stretched and quick ball won. JN found Sam who had a head of steam and he crashed into the remaining defenders between the posts taking a couple over with him, but this time his body position was good and he grounded the ball. 19 – 22, Ben approached his second difficult between the posts conversion of the day and ............. slotted it again (just) – we really must start scoring in the corners to make it easier for him!
19 – 24 and a Bicester scrum on half way. The ref called last play and the coaches and spectators expected the ball booted into touch. So James fed James who broke left and sprinted to the gain line, a sweet pass put Martyn into space, Tim Joined the line, found Callum who put Anthony in. Ant was stopped short , Wycombe wrestled for the ball, would they turn it over, would Capn JG’s enterprise prove to be folly? No, the forwards arrived quickly, Ed came up with the ball, and James Nellis came in from depth, screaming for the ball. Was this, the last play of the final match of the season, to be his first try of 2009-10?
No! Ed held onto the ball and dived for the line.
Anthony “I can stand like Jonny” Iveson stepped up to take the conversion and hit the ball like a brick, into what would have been, in the round ball game, the top corner. Wrong side of the bar Ant – but great pose!
Final whistle 19 – 29.
A fitting way to end the season – see you all in September for some more!