Bulls regain top spot but are given a scare by Centralians

Banbury Bulls George Grieve receives the ball before scoring the opening try gainst Old Centralians at DCS Stadium
Banbury Bulls George Grieve receives the ball before scoring the opening try gainst Old Centralians at DCS Stadium

Banbury Bulls regained top spot in the Wadworth 6X South West One East table with a 27-26 victory against Old Centralians.

Tries from George Grieve, Tommy Gray, Joe Mills and Pete Boulton, his first for the club, helped Bulls to a bonus point victory in an extremely close contest at the DCS Stadium.

The visitors started brightly, striking the post with a drop goal effort from Shay Morgan before Bulls took hold of the contest. Bulls broke the deadlock from a scrum, Sam Stoop whipped the ball wide and Gray drew the last man before slipping Grieve into the corner.

Bulls extended their lead with a fine counter attacking move. Freddie Cracknell turned the ball over before using his pace to counter, drew the last man before passing inside to Gray who ran in untouched under the posts and Joe Mills converted.

Matt Goode saw yellow for a high tackle and Centralians were quick to exploit the man advantage. After winning a scrum ten metres out, the ball was off-loaded to Soloman Farrar who touched down and Morgan added the extras.

Joe Mills kicked a penalty to make it 15-7 after some great defensive work from Bulls saw Centralians penalised for holding on in their own 22. Centralians reduced the deficit when Lewis May sold a dummy before some questionable defending saw the winger run in under the posts unopposed and Morgan added the extras.

Back up to a full XV, Bulls scored again just before halftime. Jacob Mills made a good break before off-loading to Joe Mills who touched down for a 20-14 lead.

Centralians kicked off the second half the stronger side. From a line-out the backs got it wide, Morgan broke before off-loading to Italo Carbjal who touched down in the corner.

Moments later Centralians edged in front for the first time with the best try of the game. From a scrum, Centralians executed a smart move, getting the ball wide before switching the play back inside to Morgan who chipped the ball over the last defender and touched down.

Morgan’s conversion made it 26-20 but Centralians’ lead did not last long. Nick Pratt burst his way through and was held up five metres out, Ed Phillips got the ball out quickly to Boulton who crashed over and Joe Mills converted.

Morgan had the opportunity to win it but he pushed his penalty attempt wide. Centralians desperately tried to get the points but Bulls defended stoutly until the end.