Holders take another step towards defending crown

Banbury Bulls' Pete Boulton forces his way over against Oxford University Greyhounds at Iffley Road. Photo: Simon Grieve
Banbury Bulls' Pete Boulton forces his way over against Oxford University Greyhounds at Iffley Road. Photo: Simon Grieve

Banbury Bulls took another step towards defending their Oxon Knockout Cup crown at Iffley Road on Sunday.

Pete Boulton capped an impressive performance with a couple of tries as the holders beat last year’s finalists Oxford University Greyhounds 50-27 to book their place in the last four.

Bulls got off to the perfect start when Jack Briggs scored on his full debut. Good work from the defence won a scrum five metres out, Sam Stoop slipped in Briggs and the Greyhounds defence was unable to keep him out.

Joe Mills added the extras and then set up the second try. Mills made the initial break before the ball was recycled to Boulton, who picked up off the base of the ruck and smashed his way through before touching down and Mills converted.

Tom Dyer narrowed the gap with a penalty but the visitors extended their lead with another Boulton try. Quick hands from Joe Winpenny slipped in the tight head prop who crashed over from close range.

Mills converted and then made a brilliant run from the back of a scrum on the halfway line before playing in Stoop. He handed off the covering defender before touching down and Mills converted.

Good work from the Greyhounds’ forwards saw them advance to within five metres of the try line before getting the ball out wide and Patrick Haughton touched down.

But Bulls scored again when Stoop threw a great pass out wide for Tommy Gray to draw the last defender and play in Alex Gandy who touched down in the corner for a 33-8 lead at halftime.

After the restart, the Greyhounds forwards showed great technique in a rolling maul and Daniel Radigan eventually touched down. Greyhounds soon scored again when Tobias Clarke made a break down the left before cutting inside and touching down under the posts for Tom Dyer to convert.

Alex Gandy had a score ruled out but from the resulting scrum Stoop whipped the ball wide to Gray who set up Dan Brady to dive over in the corner. Greyhounds continued their strong start when Charlie Pozniak burst his way through the defensive line before touching down under the posts and Dyer converted to make it 38-27.

Gandy made a break before off-loading to George Grieve who smashed his way through before cutting inside and Phillips converted. Banbury’s dominant scrum got their reward when great footwork from Jacob Mills at the back of the scrum saw him touch down.