Banbury Bulls put a season of setbacks firmly behind them as they got back on track at the DCS Stadium.
Bulls produced one of their best performances of the season to secure a 46-21 victory against Salisbury in Saturday’s Wadworth 6X South West One fixture.
A brace of tries from captain Ian Isham and an impressive performance from Ed Berridge helped secure all the points for Bulls.
Bulls got off to the perfect start after a couple of quickly taken penalties got them into the Salisbury 22. Isham found his man at the line-out before gathering the ball at the back and crashing his way over from close range.
Salisbury replied when Daniel Luedicke expertly intercepted a pass and proceeded to sprint the length of the pitch to score under the posts. Luedicke converted his own try to give Salisbury the lead.
Bulls regained the lead when Ed Phillips drew the man and Nick Pratt powered through the Salisbury defence.
Fly-half Joe Tully got Salisbury back in front after he found a hole in the Banbury line. He still had plenty to do but went over in the corner and Luedike converted.
Bulls took the lead just before the halftime whistle. The returning Tommy Gray broke from deep and was stopped short of the line. A couple phases later Jack Briggs spun out of a tackle to score out wide.
After the restart, it was the power of the forwards that got Bulls the early score. Ken Key did well to set up a rolling maul on the edge of the Salisbury 22 and the pack drove their way all the way up to the line for Jacob Mills to score in the corner.
Banbury’s next score was a brilliant team try from deep. A scrum inside their own half saw Berridge picked from the base and time his off-load perfectly to Phillips, who found Alex Gandy and he sprinted his way down the right touchline and, as the cover defence closed in, released Gray who touched down.
Isham picked up his second try coming from another rolling maul. Phillips kicked a penalty for the corner where Isham found his target and, although Salisbury held briefly, the pack wheeled it round before the skipper crashed over. Phillips finally converted to make it 32-14.
The Banbury pack showed great skill to score another try. In a near repeat of Jacob Mills’ try earlier in the game, Bulls set up a maul on the edge of the 22 before gathering great momentum and Berridge was on hand to crash over.
Phillips added the extras before Salisbury got their third try following another interception. Richard Smart picked off a loose pass before sprinting his way under the posts and Luedike converted.
Bulls finished with one more try of their own. It was Berridge’s turn to intercept an opposition pass but Salisbury covered and stopped him short. Bulls reacted quickly though and a couple phases later Jacko Briggs went over and worked his way inside to score close to the posts. Phillips converted to round off a good day for Bulls.