Dan Brady bagged a brace of tries as Banbury Bulls got off to the best possible start in their Wadworth 6X South West One East opener.
Last season’s play-off finalists beat county rivals Witney 47-17 on Saturday.
Witney started well and the pressure eventually paid off when Alex Foggett sprinted over in the corner. But Bulls soon edged ahead when Chris Phillips fielded Witney’s clearing kick from the restart and found Tommy Gray who released Brady and he weaved his way from out wide to score under the posts.
Ed Phillips converted before skipper Ian Isham maintained his try a game record against Witney who were penalised for being off their feet at the breakdown. Sam Stoop kicked for the corner, Isham found his man from the resulting line-out before gathering the ball at the back of the rolling and touched down.
Ed Phillips converted and Bulls added their third try with some brilliant work from Jimmy Manley who broke from the halfway line before exchanging quick passes with Ed Phillips only to be stopped narrowly short of the line. Pete Boulton was held up but Stoop played in Matt Goode to score in the corner.
Ed Phillips extended the lead but Witney reacted well after the restart and had a good spell on the edge of the Banbury 22. But Banbury’s defence held out and following a loose pass Goode hacked the ball for Brady to out-sprint three Witney backs to score and Ed Phillips converted to make it 28-5 at halftime.
After the restart, Stoop played in Goode who broke through a couple tackles before off-loading to Gray for a simple finish and Ed Phillips converted.
Stoop saw yellow for not releasing and the pressure finally told when Rob Coe broke through the Banbury line to score despite Ed Phillips’ late effort to thwart him.
Bulls scored again following a scrum when Ed Phillips passed to Goode who bullied his way through two defenders before touching down from short range. Dan Kirwin also got a yellow card on his debut for a tip-tackle. Witney took advantage of the extra man and got their third try when Coe made the initial break before off-loading to Jack Birks who touched down under the posts and Luke Manning converted.
But Bulls killed off any chances of a comeback when Goode made a brilliant break before off-loading to Ed Phillips who touched down under the posts before adding the conversion.