Banbury Bulls go into next weekend’s South West One East derby at Oxford Harlequins on the back of a heavy defeat.
Old Patesians cruised to a 47-22 victory in Saturday’s fixture at Bodicote Park where Bulls are still searching for that elusive first home victory.
Bulls started brightly but did not manage to turn their early pressure into points, whether it was simply poor execution or being guilty of trying to play too much rugby too soon.
That was soon to be a moot point as Old Patesians turned their first possession into points which started what was to become the theme for the rest of the match.
Bulls had several chances to put the strike runner down but after missed tackles it was impossible to mount a structured defence with the opposition in behind the home lines. Old Patesians added another score in similar fashion to take an early 14-0 lead which could have been bigger had they not missed an easy penalty.
Bulls had another bright patch of attack and this time they were able to convert their possession into points on the score board.
Jimmy Manley broke down the left before being dragged down by the full-back. Bulls recycled the ball and Chris Phillips fed Sam Stoop who scored in the corner with Ed Phillips adding the extras.
Bulls grew into the game and were next on the score board through the boot of Phillips via a penalty from 40 metres.
The next phase was an important stage of the game but Bulls flattered to deceive and more missed tackles let Old Patesians in for another well constructed but soft try.
Bulls headed into the break 16 points behind but if they could right their wrongs and use the possession and territory more effectively they may still have been able to turn the game around.
The second half started much the same as the first with Bulls enjoying plenty of ball in hand but they again failed to contain Old Patesians. The visitors were ruthless and took away any chance of Bulls chalking up their first home win.
Bulls put up a spirited fight when in possession of the ball and went in search of bonus points. But they narrowly missed out, only scoring three of the four required tries.
Their second try was scored by Matt Goode, retuning from injury off the bench. It was converted by Phillips who then sniped around the edge of the ruck but was unable to add the extras to his own score.