Parker inspires Bulls to get back on right track again

Banbury Bulls got back to winning ways in thrilling fashion at the DCS Stadium.

By Steve Smith
Monday, 20th January 2020, 1:31 pm
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 1:28 am
Banbury Bulls' James Leonardi races clear against Marlborough at the DCS Stadium. Photo: Steve Prouse
Banbury Bulls' James Leonardi races clear against Marlborough at the DCS Stadium. Photo: Steve Prouse

Matt Goode’s side responded to last weekend’s Wadworth 6X South West One East defeat to secure all five points with a 38-19 victory over Marlborough on Satuday.

Bulls welcomed back Ian Isham, Ed Berridge, Will Thurlow, Tom Eyston and Duncan Leese while Liam Lloyd returned from injury for a spot on the bench.

Bulls were disappointed in defence in the defeat at Chippenham but showed they were up for this game against a dangerous Marlborough side.

A deliberate trip on Dan Brady stopped an early chance before a loose pass from the Banbury backs was brilliantly converted into the opening try. Brady kicked the ball off the floor before showing some dribbling skills to dive over and Ed Phillips converted.

Marlborough levelled through a rampaging run from Sione Funaki which was converted. Bulls regain the lead when strong runs from Joel Thomas and James Leonardi got to within a metre of the opposition try line before the young prop popped the ball up for Joe Mills to dart over and Phillips converted.

Phillips added a penalty before half-time after Marlborough were penalised for not releasing to establish a 17-7 lead.

Marlborough kept on playing a physical style of rugby and were soon reduced to 14 players for ten minutes. Justin Parker added a third try after some brilliant work from the Banbury pack.

The forwards took a scrum from inside their own half and drove 20 metres to get the penalty advantage. Ed Berridge burst off the back of the scrum before putting in a kick behind the Marlborough defence and Parker won the race to dive over and Phillips converted.

Marlborough responded with two quickly taken penalties taking them right to the edge of the try line and Lemeki Moala burst over for a converted try.

Duncan Leese was yellow carded for not rolling away and Marlborough took the penalty quickly for Kane Marafono to dive over in the corner.

Bulls sealed the win and the try bonus point in the final minutes. Tommy Gray made a good break before timing his off-load perfectly to release Jack Briggs for a try under the posts and Phillips converted to make it 31-19.

Keiran Fitzgibbon scored another try in added-time when he drove over from close range after Parker was stopped short and Phillips kicked the final conversion.