Stoop rises to the challenge as Bulls complete comeback

Sam Stoop's late try and Ed Phillips' subsequent conversion saw Banbury Bulls snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Sam Stoop scores the winning try for Banbury Bulls at Chippenham. Photo: Simon GrieveSam Stoop scores the winning try for Banbury Bulls at Chippenham. Photo: Simon Grieve
Sam Stoop scores the winning try for Banbury Bulls at Chippenham. Photo: Simon Grieve

Bulls emerged 42-41 victors in Saturday’s thrilling Wadworth 6X South West One East fixture at Chippenham.

It was the third time Bulls had won by a single point against the Wiltshire club in three years as they made it eight wins in a row to consolidate third place.

The pack were dominant early on at Allington Fields and the pressure eventually told when Bulls scored two quick tries.

A five-metre scrum was pushed up to the Chippenham line and Ed Berridge touched the ball down. Moments later Stoop’s kick found Tommy Gray who sprinted over, both tries were converted by Phillips

But Chippenham scored three quick tries to take the lead. Matt Dickens sprinted over, Gareth Angel worked his way through some sloppy defending before releasing Tom Fogerty to score and Jacob Unwin made a great break before off-loading to Charlie Quarren-Evans who sprinted down the sideline to score. Louis Ayliffe kicked two of the conversions to give Chippenham the 19-14 lead.

Banbury’s scrum dominated for 80 minutes and Berridge’s second try was a near repeat of his first, the pack getting him close before he burst over from short range and Phillips converted.

A penalty got Bulls deep into Chippenham territory and a couple phases later Jack Briggs popped a pass to Stoop who carved his way through the Chippenham defence before the fly-half stepped his way past one more defender to score out wide and Phillips maintained his 100 per cent record with the boot.

Chippenham started the second half when Unwin took a quick penalty before working his way through the retreating defence to score and Ayliffe converted to reduce the gap to 26-28. Chippenham took the lead when Unwin scored in the corner and Oli Alcorn was exploited some more poor defending to score and Ayliffe converted to give Chippenham a 41-28 lead.

The comeback began when the pack worked the ball brilliantly to the Chippenham line before Phillips took it and darted over from close range before nailing a tricky conversion to reduce the deficit to six points.

Bulls pushed for an unexpected winner with a good break down the left, when the ball fell loose, Burman and Phillips kept it in play and won a line-out in the 22. Bulls won the line-out before switching the ball to the opposite flank where Jed Boyle cut in off his wing before finding Stoop, who burst his way through the Chippenham defence to score under the posts and Phillips converted to complete an incredible comeback.