Cracknell bags hat-trick as Bulls charge to big victory

Jimmy Manley scores at Wimborne for Banbury Bulls. Photo: Simon Grieve
Jimmy Manley scores at Wimborne for Banbury Bulls. Photo: Simon Grieve
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Banbury Bulls made it three wins on the spin with arguably their best performance of the season.

Freddie Cracknell bagged a hat-trick of tries as Bulls won 47-22 at Wimborne in Saturday’s South West One East fixture.

Ed Phillips settled any early nerves at Leigh Park with a penalty and Bulls continued their bright start when Jimmy Manley touched down for a neat try. Matt Goode burst his way through the Wimborne defence before slipping the ball inside to Manley who touched down out wide and Phillips converted.

Bulls soon touched down again after Wimborne conceded a penalty which Sam Stoop kicked for the corner and Ian Isham found his target at the line-out. The ball found its way back to the captain at the back of the rolling maul and some excellent work from the pack drove Isham over.

Bulls increased the lead with another Phillips penalty before Dan Brady made a brilliant break down the right which had the Wimborne defence scrambling to get back in. Sam Stoop chipped to the corner and Cracknell was quickest to react to go over in the corner.

Phillips nailed a tricky conversion to leave a shell-shocked Wimborne trailing 25-0 before they scored their first try after winning a line-out. Cracknell knocked the ball on, Wimborne gathered and James Walton scored in the corner.

Cracknell was shown a yellow card for the deliberate knock-on but Phillips kicked another penalty before halftime.

After the restart, Isham made a good break and off-loaded to Giles Saar who charged over the line and Phillips converted to make it 35-5.

Wimborne reduced the arrears with a try from 17-year-old Max Tipping. The impressive youngster picked up off the base of ruck and burst through a gap in the Banbury defence to score and James Bartlett converted to make it 35-12.

But Bulls ended any hopes of a comeback when Cracknell scored his second try. Stoop chipped behind Wimborne’s defensive line Cracknell touched down in the corner with Phillips adding the extras.

Cracknell completed his hat-trick after a great break from Ed Harden. The big second row forward burst through the Wimborne line and was stopped just short of the line, Stoop whipped the ball wide to Tommy Gray who released Cracknell and he cut inside to score.

Wimborne finished the game strongly with a couple of tries. Ashton Kerley crossed after a neat move from the backs, before Bartlett kicked the ball through and won the race to touch down in the corner.