Hat-trick for Mills as Bulls get back to winning ways

Joe Mills scored a hat-trick of tries for Banbury Bulls at Swindon
Joe Mills scored a hat-trick of tries for Banbury Bulls at Swindon

Banbury Bulls got back to winning ways in Wadworth6X South West One East after two successive defeats.

A hat-trick of tries from Joe Mills saw Bulls run out convincing 36-19 winners at Swindon on Saturday.

Bulls remain fourth, level on points with third-placed Salisbury.

Mills settled any nerves, slotting an early penalty after Swindon were penalised for offside. George Grieve made a break down the right before drawing the last man and slipping the ball inside to Mills who out-sprinted the covering defence to touchdown under the posts, leaving the winger a simple conversion.

Banbury’s impressive start continued when Bulls utilised one of their main weapons with a strong rolling maul from a line-out but were stopped just short of the try line. Ian Isham picked up off the base of the ruck threw a dummy to hold the defence in position and charged through the gap.

Mills converted before Swindon got back into the game with a try. After a period of sustained pressure the Banbury defence finally gave way and Swindon scored a converted try.

Joe Mills had another score ruled out for a forward pass but when Swindon tried to force the ball out quickly from a scrum the Bulls winger scooped the ball off the turf before arching his run from out wide to touch down before adding the conversion.

Mills completed a stunning first half when he scored his third try when Kallum Dixey charged down a Swindon clearing kick. A deliberate knock-on thwarted Bulls but Mills took a quick tap-penalty to score before adding the extras for a 31-7 lead at halftime.

Swindon were much improved after the restart and got their reward with a converted try. Poor tackling from Bulls ended with Swindon scoring again to make it 31-19.

But Matt Brock ended any hopes of a comeback with a late try. Good breaks from Freddie Cracknell and Jimmy Manley were well defended but a quick change of direction from Bulls caught out Swindon down the blind-side and Brock went over in the corner.

That was how it finished as Bulls came away with the five points following an impressive first half but not such great second one. Swindon changed their game plan at halftime and came back into the game strongly. The impressive Dixey put in a strong defensive shift and real energy across the entire pitch while Joe Mills contributed 26 of the 36 points his side scored.