All good things must come to an end and that was the case for Banbury Bulls on Saturday.
Banbury’s eight-match unbeaten run came to an end at Newbury Blues in Saturday’s South West One East fixture.
Bulls went down 31-7 at Monks Lane where a poor second half display saw them concede four unanswered tries on the back of an encouraging first half display.
But, in a week where only three games were played due to the ground conditions, the defeat has not affected the Banbury’s league position and they remain fourth ahead of this week’s fixture with Old Centralians, who are level on points, at Bodicote Park.
Bulls started the game strongly. Despite not making huge inroads into the Blues defensive line, Bulls retained the ball well which led to a penalty but Ed Phillips hit the upright.
Bulls kept the pressure on and scored from a scrum in the Newbury 22. A simple first phase move made deadly by Matt Goode’s fierce line breaking, he found winger Freddie Cracknell who crossed under the posts for his second try in three games. Phillips added the extras against a frustrated Newbury side.
Full of confidence, Bulls continued to attack and pressed the Newbury line. In behind Newbury’s defence, Bulls looked to spread the ball wide to the corner where Newbury’s players seemed to be already waiting in an offside position but the referee adjudged them to be onside and the home winger intercepted before running the length to score and level the contest.
The game evened out for the remainder of the first half, Newbury let one chance go begging where they broke clear but Bulls were presented with another chance on the stroke of halftime but again Phillips was off target with a penalty attempt.
Bulls struggled after the break while Newbury upped the pressure. In previous weeks Bulls have managed to contain sides in this situation but Newbury showed their class, adding four more tries without reply, including an impressive length of the field kick return.
Bulls wilted, showed very little attacking threat and let Newbury play all of the rugby on the front foot. There was no denying that Newbury were a strong outfit and worthy but the way Bulls played in the second half will not have pleased head coach James Kerr.