PICTURES BY SIMON GRIEVE
League leaders Banbury got 2022 off to the perfect start with a 25-22 victory over promotion rivals Bracknell - the only team to have beaten them at the start of the season, writes Alex Inch.
A man of the match performance from Luke Hallam-Evans helped secure a thrilling victory in which 14 of the 18 players had come through Banbury’s youth section, a great credit to the coaches and the club.
“I’m proud of the boys. Our performance was okay, but our efforts were outstanding,” said head coach Matt Goode.
James Miller slotted an early penalty before Dan Brady finished off a fantastic move from the Banbury backs for 10-0. Tom Burman scored their second try and Joe Mills gathered a pinpoint kick from Tommy Gray for the next.
Ed Phillips added the conversion and a penalty. Bracknell scored their fourth try, throwing everything at Banbury, who went down to 14 in the finals stages after a yellow card but held out for their 13th South West 1 (East) win.
Bulls play at Buckingham this weekend and Goode added: “It’s going to be a tough contest. We need to make sure we get the strategy and gameplan right. They’re always up for their games when they play us. I think it’s going to close. It can be muddy and rugged there and we need to pick the right team for the game.”