Banbury Bulls rounded off 2017 in style with a dominating performance at Bicester.
A brace of tries for Dan Brady and Tommy Gray helped Bulls complete the double with a 57-10 victory in Saturday’s South West One East derby at Oxford Road.
Bulls took the lead when Bicester, under increasing pressure, sliced a clearing kick to give the visitors a line-out five metres out. Ian Isham found his target and good work from the pack saw Chris Phillips touch down at the back of the rolling maul.
Chris Phillips went from scorer to provider for Banbury’s second score. Sam Stoop got the ball out wide, Chris Phillips drew the last man before off-loading to Brady who sneaked his way over in the corner.
Banbury’s next score was a contender for the try of the season.
Replacement Jack Briggs made the initial burst, he off-loaded inside to Joe Mills who threw a pass behind his back to Ed Phillips, he switched the ball to Tommy Gray who burst his way into the 22. With the Bicester defence rapidly back peddling, Stoop chipped the ball behind the defence and Brady won the race to touch down in the corner.
Ed Phillips converted from the touchline before Dan Spencer reduced the deficit with a penalty. But Bulls scored again when they won a scrum against the head five metres out, Stoop looped the ball out wide and Gray dived through two defenders to score in the corner.
Bulls scored again before halftime when the pack were stopped just short after a strong rolling maul. Ed Phillips got the ball out to Stoop who beat his opposite number to score near the posts, deserved reward for the number ten after a couple of assists.
Ed Phillips converted to make it 29-3 at halftime and was soon adding another conversion after the restart. Replacement Matthew Powell burst his way down the right flank before being caught just inside the Bicester half, Ed Phillips gathered the ball on the blind side and raced clear to score before adding the extras.
Bulls increased their lead when Nick Pratt burst his way through the Bicester line and off-loaded for Jacob Mills to score and Ed Phillips converted to make it 43-3.
Gray grabbed his second try after good work from Brady who spun out of a high tackle. He slipped the ball inside to Ed Phillips who quickly passed it on to Gray who dived over under the posts.
Ed Phillips converted to make it 50-3 and Bulls completed the rout when Gray danced his way out of a couple tackles and off-loaded to Powell who beat the last man, cut inside to touch down under the posts.
Ed Phillips converted before Bicester picked up a late consolation try when Adam Hall scored in the corner. The Bicester pack were stopped narrowly short of the line but Hall was on hand to take advantage after the ball broke loose to sneak over and Spencer converted.