Injuries add to Bulls’ woes after heavy defeat ends hopes

Banbury Bulls' Matt Brock on a rare attacking move during Saturday's heavy defeat at Newbold-on-Avon. Photo: Mike Baker
Banbury Bulls' Matt Brock on a rare attacking move during Saturday's heavy defeat at Newbold-on-Avon. Photo: Mike Baker

Banbury Bulls entertain Nuneaton Old Edwardians on Saturday at Bodicote Park where they will hope to bounce back in the Midlands Two West fixture.

James Kerr’s side returned from Newbold-on-Avon on the back of a 61-3 hammering on Saturday and also lost George Grieve to a shoulder injury which ended the Northampton Saints Under-18 Academy player’s campaign.

The defeat leaves Bulls in third place and 14 points behind leaders Old Laurentians and Newbold who look certain to occupy the top two spots at the end of the season.

Despite conceding nine tries it was Bulls who took the lead after the hosts conceded a penalty and skipper Eddie Phillips slotted over the kick from 40 yards. Newbold came back with a vengeance, with big, strong ball carriers giving them a strong platform and quick ball to tear Banbury to pieces.

Newbold’s first try coincided with Banbury’s first two injuries, Grieve, who required surgery on his shoulder, and Sam Mills with an ankle injury. Newbold continued to dominate in the loose and the set-piece for the remainder of the half, going in 33-3 up at halftime.

After the restart, Newbold continued to charge up the pitch with big strong runners and attacked when they wanted from the platform created by large and mobile pack. Banbury’s task was made even tougher losing two more players when Jacob Mills was forced off the field with concussion which will see him miss the next three games and Steve Nutt, who failed to overcome a shoulder injury.

That left Bulls without any further replacements so they had to play the remainder of the game with 14 players. Bizarrely it was during that period that they showed how they can usually play and displayed some of their better rugby, perhaps the tiring opposition and extra space making the difference.

But it was too little too late and despite having couple of decent spells in the opposition 22 they could not add to their score as Newbold romped home in a very one-sided contest.