Bulls charge towards title after seeing off rivals

Sean Banister goes for the line during Banbury Bulls 33-0 victory against Earlsdon at Bodicote Park
Sean Banister goes for the line during Banbury Bulls 33-0 victory against Earlsdon at Bodicote Park

Banbury Bulls took a massive step to the Midlands Two West South title after seeing off their only challengers Earlsdon on Saturday.

James Kerr’s boys romped to a 33-0 victory at Bodicote Park where Bulls came charging out at the start of each half, scoring all their points in the first 20 minutes of each period to stun Earlsdon and claim another bonus point win.

The game started evenly, with the opening encounters being exchanged in midfield, but Bulls soon took control. The forwards knew they would be facing one of the tougher tests but they edged it for the full 80 minutes.

That gave Bulls the platform they needed to launch their dangerous backs and they soon broke the deadlock. Bulls retained the ball in front of a packed grandstand and looked to spread the ball across the pitch.

Earlsdon tried to put pressure on Banbury’s centres but fly half Sam Stoop executed a looping pass to the outsides backs and full back Joe Mills raced over.

Bulls went close when back row Simon Brand fed Ed Phillips, who made a break, elected to chip over the full back but the covering defence just edged out wing Josh Deegan as the ball trickled over the try line.

Soon after Bulls earned a penalty and Stoop kicked for the corner. The line-out functioned perfectly with lock Matt Brock catching and, as Earlsdon set up to defend the maul, flanker Sean Banister spun to change the point of attack and crashed over from five metres out. Phillips converted to put Bulls 12-0 up.

Bulls may have lacked the appetite for pressure games in the past but they attacked again with hooker Ian Isham starting the move on the halfway line before being hauled to the ground. The forwards continued the progress deep into the visitors 22 and from an overlap Phillips darted over before adding the extras.

For the rest of the half Earlsdon tried to use the elements to gain field position but Bulls’ exit strategy from each attack was up to the test as they reached halftime 19-0 up.

From the restart the ball was fielded and cleared long by Phillips and from the line-out Bulls set up another driving maul. Banister exchanged passes with Phillips, who drew the full back, and raced in for the bonus point.

Phillips added the extras and was soon repeating the feat as Bulls scored again. The ball was spread from left to right, Deegan broke the line and found Jimmy Manley who went over and Phillips extended his side’s lead to 33-0.

Winger Adam Walsh and Stoop set up Brock who crossed the line only to be called back for a forward pass as Bulls finished the game strongly.