Bulls take a big step to title as their rivals lose more ground

Simon Brand in the thick of things for Banbury Bulls against Bedworth
Simon Brand in the thick of things for Banbury Bulls against Bedworth

Banbury Bulls took another step towards the Midlands Two West South title ahead of this week’s tough trip to Berkswell & Balsall.

The leaders romped to a 71-7 success against basement boys Bedworth while title rivals Earlsdon again failed to get the bonus point in their 19-0 victory at Leamington meaning Bulls extended their advantage to four points.

At Bodicote Park, Bulls had it largely their own way in a one-sided affair but Bedworth’s desire did not falter until the final whistle. While Bulls’ backline ran in all 11 tries, it was a victory built on another solid foundation from the pack who were up against a larger Bedworth scrum.

After an even start, Bulls broke the deadlock when they turned over the ball and two box kicks from Ed Phillips into Bedworth’s line 22 saw right wing Josh Deegan go over and his skipper added the conversion.

Bnbury’s counter attacking has been strong all season and when Bedworth missed a kick to touch the ball was passed infield to Joe Mills who carved open the defence and fed Sam Stoop who ran the ball in under the posts, Phillips converted for a 14-0 lead. Bedworth had a period of possession, retaining the ball well but Bulls defended well and when the ball went to ground inside centre Matt Goode was first to react, to run in under the posts unopposed and Phillips again slotted over a simple conversion.

Banbury took advantage of gaps in the Bedworth defence as they tried to reorganise. While trying to cover an overlap, the visitors left a hole in the middle of the park, fly half Stoop stepped through the gap and crossed under the posts again. Phillips made it 28-0, securing the bonus point in the first half for the second week running.

Just before the break the visitors’ lose head prop saw red for expletives to the referee and the contest was all but over. Bulls put together some flowing rugby which ended in Goode feeding Phillips, who dotted down under the posts before adding the conversion.

Bedworth scored with a converted try following a tap and go penalty after an infringement at a line-out. But they faced a huge challenge after the restart, one man down and 28 points adrift.

They battled well but Bulls were simply too strong for them. More tries came from Jed Boyle (2) and Joe Mills with Phillips adding two of the three scores.

Bulls went on to add three more tries. Jimmy Manley collected a Joe Mills’ kick ahead to score while Goode and Deegan also went over with Phillips converting the final try.