Salisbury strike back to end Bulls unbeaten home run

Freddie Cracknell forces his way over to score his second try against Salisbury
Freddie Cracknell forces his way over to score his second try against Salisbury

It was a tale of two halves at the DCS Stadium where Banbury Bulls suffered their third defeat of the Wadworth 6X South West One East campaign.

Salisbury produced a strong second half display to run out 35-28 winners on Saturday.

A first half hat-trick of tries from Freddie Cracknell proved in vain as Bulls met with back-to-back defeats for the first time as Salisbury leapfrogged them to go third.

Bulls got off to the prefect start, Salisbury kicked from deep but Tommy Gray fielded the ball and fed Cracknell on the halfway line. He burst his way through the Salisbury defensive line, breaking two tackles, to score under the posts and Ed Phillips converted.

Bulls soon extended their lead, Ian Isham burst down the blind-side before drawing the last man and released Cracknell who jinked his way over in the corner and Phillips converted.

Matthew Loader kicked a penalty before Gary Williamson’s break ended with the ball being slipped inside to David Tonge who scored out wide.

Bulls increased their advantage following a five metre scrum. Phillips found Matt Goode, who slipped the ball back inside to Cracknell and he managed to squirm over for his hat-trick.

Phillips converted before getting on the score sheet himself when Bulls were awarded another penalty. Phillips took a quick tap-penalty and managed to wriggle his way out of the tackle and touchdown against the base of the post.

Phillips made it 28-8 from his conversion but Salisbury narrowed the gap with another Loader penalty just before halftime.

After the restart, Tonge took a quick penalty, he was stopped short of the line but the ball was recycled out wide to Callum MacTaggart who darted his way over and Loader converted.

Jimmy Manley was shown a yellow card for a high tackle in preventing a certain score and Loader kicked the resulting penalty.

Salisbury took advantage of the extra man to draw level. The impressive Jack Sheldrake made a strong break through the Banbury line before off-loading to Oliver Bowden who outsprinted the covering defence to score and Loader converted.

Salisbury edged in front for the first time when Juan van de Merwe broke down the left before off-loading to Chris Beaumont who released Christian Metson to score in the corner and Loader kicked a fine conversion.

Bulls rallied but Salisbury controlled the game with phase after phase through the forwards up until the final whistle.