Banbury Bulls finally overcame Old Centralians - and the elements - to extend their winning run to 12 games.
Dan Brady scored the only try of the game in Saturday’s 8-0 victory which consolidates Bulls’ second place in Wadworth 6X South West One.
After two postponements, both due to a waterlogged pitch, Bulls completed another double over Old Centralians.
Bulls won the reverse fixture by a single point and only a couple weeks ago Old Centralians had beaten third-placed Chippenham. So head coach Matt Goode knew his side were in for a tough game.
Due to injuries and unavailability, Bulls made five changes to the starting 15 that had won against Salisbury the previous weekend.
The game kicked-off in minus temperatures with swirling snow but, despite the changes and the conditions, Bulls settled into the game very well.
Brady nearly opened the scoring with a solo effort if not for a brilliant try saving tackle from Lewis May. Bulls recycled and had numbers out wide but the ball was cynically knocked-on to stop what looked like a certain try.
Good defence from Old Centralians kept Bulls out before they won a penalty for offside and Ed Phillips kicked the visitors into an early lead. Bulls could feel hard done by to come away with so little after a great start but they had the early advantage.
Freddie Cracknell nearly scored what would have been a superb try when he burst through the Old Centralians’ line before chipping over the last defender. But he was cynically pulled back off the ball and what looked like another nailed-on try went begging.
Bulls had another chance after winning a scrum five metres out but solid defence kept them out. Bulls knocked-on and Old Centralians nearly countered the length of the pitch if were not for some brilliant sweeping at the back from Brady, who wriggled his way from five metres out to the 22.
Bulls got the try their play deserved just before halftime. Chris Phillips did well to turn the ball over in the Old Centralians’ half.
Bulls got the ball out wide quickly and Jimmy Manley made a great break down the right flank before off-loading to Goode who whipped the ball on to Brady. The pacey winger capped his excellent first half by sneaking his way down the touchline before scoring in the corner.
Ian Isham looked like he’d scored late on in the second half but the referee couldn’t see the grounding and went back for a five metre scrum. From the ensuing scrum, Phillips tried to get the ball down the blind-side but George Preece cynically knocked it on again, resulting in a yellow card.
Bulls kept knocking on the door for a late try but the Old Centralians’ defence was solid and kept them out up until the final whistle.
It was never going to be a classic but, considering the conditions, it was an entertaining game of rugby. Both teams defended brilliantly and on another day, with a different bounce of the ball, the score line could have been much higher.