Bulls bounce back to see off Quins in a thriller

Ed Phillips looks to get the ball away for Banbury Bulls against Oxford Harlequins. Photo: Simon Grieve
Ed Phillips looks to get the ball away for Banbury Bulls against Oxford Harlequins. Photo: Simon Grieve

Normal service was resumed at the DCS Stadium, where Banbury Bulls got back to winning ways.

Bulls beat Oxford Harlequins 27-19 in Saturday’s Wadworth 6X South West One East fixture in which the lead was exchanged several times.

Sustained pressure saw Bulls deep in the opposition half and Ed Phillips kicked to the corner after being awarded a penalty. Ian Isham found his target at the following line-out, gathered the ball at the back of the rolling maul and great work from the pack eventually saw the skipper touch down in the corner.

Phillips nailed a tricky conversion and Bulls soon increased their lead. Isham won possession, the backs got the ball wide and George Grieve side-stepped the last defender before racing over but Phillips hit the post with his conversion.

Quins came back strongly, Bulls overthrew a line-out five metres from their own line and Michael Ojo was on hand to punish the mistake. Huw Diamond added the extras to narrow the gap to 12-7.

After a couple penalties, Quins saw themselves deep in Bulls territory and the pressure paid off. Matt White was stopped just short but spun his way out of the tackle before reaching out to score just wide of the posts and Diamond converted to edge Quins in front.

Bulls regained the lead just before halftime when another rolling maul was heading for the try line until Chris Davies pulled it down and was shown a yellow card. Phillips kicked for the corner and another line-out saw Pete Boulton gather and crashed his way over in the corner.

Despite still being a man down, it was Quins who scored after the restart. From a scrum Ed Yeates made a good break down the right before off-loading to Tom Guthrie who sprinted his way over wide to the right.

Bulls got back in front with a penalty try. Isham looked like he was going to score from another rolling maul before Oliver Barlow took the ball carrier out.

Barlow saw yellow, Phillips kicked for the corner and another rolling maul was pulled down just short of the try line but this time the referee awarded a converted penalty try.

Quins desperately looked for a way back into the game, trying to run the ball out deep from within their own 22 but it was Bulls who increased their lead. Turned over ball saw Quins penalised for not rolling away and Phillips kicked the ensuing penalty.

Paul de Lange got his side’s third yellow card for dissent just before the final whistle brought to an end a feisty encounter.