Banbury kept pace at the top of the table with a 34-3 victory away at Frome, writes Alex Inch.
A man of the match performance from Tommy Gray and the return of Pete Boulton after over two years on the side lines with injury helped the Bulls secure all the points.
The Bulls were forced into a number of changes from last weekend’s impressive victory versus Chippenham, Boulton made a welcome start after recovering from a serious knee injury he suffered playing for Oxfordshire in May 2019.
Storm Malik was in full force at kick off, but with the strong winds going straight across the pitch, neither side an advantage.
Darrel Thompson kicked an early penalty for Frome after Banbury were penalised for being offside. Tommy Gray would give Banbury the lead though with a fine solo try. Both teams had chances to score in an entertaining first half but neither side added points to their totals.
Banbury were fired up for the second half. Maybe too fired up with the Bulls picking up two yellow cards in the opening ten minutes for high tackles. Despite the numerical disadvantage though Banbury would extend the lead through a Dan Brady try in the corner.
Two quickfire tries from long range from Tom Burman and Quinten Blythe sealed a try bonus point for Banbury. Burman was forced off with injury after a cynical trip from Frome resulted in their own yellow card.
With the extra man, the Bulls forwards went to work. First Ian Isham burst through two tackles to score a great try before he then played in Boulton for a fairytale try on his return to the team.
The 34-3 score line was harsh on Frome but highlighted how well Banbury defended and when they got their opportunities, they seized on them clinically.
An entertaining game of rugby. Both teams put in big defensive shifts and Frome showed a lot of heart that should see them pick up some upsets over the remaining games of the season.
Tommy Gray was selected as Banbury’s man of the match. He had a hand in many of the tries and constantly looked a danger with ball in hand. He marshalled the defence well and certainly was a difference maker in tricky conditions.
This weekend Banbury travel to Beaconsfield in a re-arranged fixture from before Christmas.
Banbury head South West 1 (East) with Oxford Harlequins four points behind and third-placed Bracknell trailing by seven.
Beaconsfield are seventh in the table.