Banbury Bulls were given a harsh reminder of what the top teams in South West One East are capable of.
Old Patesians served up a thrilling seven-try success over sixth placed Bulls with a 41-7 victory to maintain their push for the title.
The leaders were soon in front when Jimmy Gahan opened their account after excellent forwards and backs interplay stretched the Banbury defence.
Pats scored again from the restart when the visitors could not contain a powerful maul on their line and conceded a penalty for collapsing. Stand-in scrum-half James Aherne showed quick thinking with a tap-and-go and, when his pass ricocheted off Gethin Evans into Jacob Hughes hands, the young prop touched down under the crossbar.
With the advantage of the slope, Bulls controlled the ball and running through the phases they answered Pats’ early enterprise with a try from centre Matt Goode which Ed Phillips converted. But that was as good as it got for James Kerr’s boys.
Returning from injury, Haydn Jennings combined well with Josh Stevens and Scott Alldritt as the forwards trio menaced the visitors with penetrating runs. The impressive Tom Langton was first to the breakdown as the pressure built on Bulls.
The home side produced a breathtaking try after half an hour with every player touching the ball before Lee Hathaway finished off a remarkable phase of play with try wide out. Secure under the high ball and defensively sound, Pats were impregnable as Bulls enjoyed an abundance of possession with no reward.
Pats secured their bonus point when winger Duncan Spurrier went over in the first minute of the second half.
With debutant Rory Sharratt showing well in the centre, a deft touch with the boot pushed Bulls back to their goal line. Stevens stole the line-out ball and found Langton, he was held up but Jennings scored from close range after Pats’ maul rumbled over.
Throughout the game Pats counter-attacking full-back Matt Dean answered everything thrown at him with piecing runs from deep and intelligent touch kicking nullifying the Banbury attack.
Using the slope to his advantage, Dean’s kick and chase turned the visitors and with Stevens pillaging the line-out’s the intense pressure saw Bulls crack as Aherne waltzed through a gap to touch down.
As the final whistle approached Stevens stole another line-out and found captain Chris Dean who barged over.