Banbury Bulls booked their place in the last eight of the RFU Midlands Intermediate Cup with a comprehensive victory at Olney.
The Midlands Two West South leaders romped to a 52-0 victory in Saturday’s second round tie ahead of this weekend’s big clash with Barkers Butts.
Bulls kicked off and immediately put Olney under pressure with Matt Goode, starting at fly-half, linking up with Josh Deegan who chipped the last defender to run through but he was impeded as he tried to ground the ball and a penalty try was awarded with Ed Phillips kicking the straightforward conversion.
Moments later full-back Joe Mills ran the ball back at the Olney defence, side-stepping several defenders, he off-loaded to Ian Isham leaving only the Olney scrum-half to beat and he used his considerable power to dive through for an excellent try and Phillips added the extras.
Olney appeared punch-drunk after the early onslaught and Bulls sensed an opportunity to finish the contest. Turning over an Olney scrum on the hosts own five metre line the ball popped out, only for Phillips to react the quickest and dot down.
Any hopes of an Olney fight-back was all but extinguished as Bulls executed a text-book line-out move. A deadly accurate throw by hooker Seamus O’Dwyer hit target man Sam Mills in the air, quickly played off the top, Phillips fed Goode at pace and he slid over for the fourth try.
Phillips added the extras to make it 25-0 at halftime and almost immediately from the restart Bulls scored again. Making several yards in space, Goode delivered a cheeky off-load from the back of his hand that found Joe Mills in support and the full-back raced over with Phillips adding the conversion.
With the game effectively won, head coach James Kerr rang the changes. Lock Matt Brock had picked up a leg injury and, together with Wes Hallam and Goode, was replaced by James Page, Steve Nutt and Jed Boyle.
Despite the heavy conditions, Bulls proceeded to play some of their most open and fluid rugby. With forwards and backs attacking in open play, the visitors turned over an Olney ruck on the hosts five metre line and Isham again was quickest to react and pounced on a loose ball to score.
Olney put Bulls under pressure for a short period, pinning Banbury back but it was too little too late and from another line-out ten metres from the line the ball was fed to a fast approaching Jimmy Manley who scored under the posts. Phillips duly converted and repeated the feat when he darted over the line from another five metre scrum.