Head coach James Kerr will be looking for his Banbury Bulls side to maintain top spot in Saturday’s Midlands Two West South fixture at Earlsdon.
Bulls romped to a 55-14 victory over Dunlop in Saturday’s fixture at Bodicote Park but will face a sterner test at third placed Earlsdon who are just two points behind.
Dunlop made use of the elements in their favour early on but Banbury’s pressure produced a scrum and a well-worked blind-side move saw Joe Mills dotting down in the corner for the first of his two tries. Josh Deegan quickly bagged a brace as the Bulls’ pack gave the backs clean go-forward ball and only a few handling errors stopped them adding to their tally.
Skipper Ed Phillips maximised from a Dunlop error, hacked the ball on, gathered and scored in the corner and also converted three of the five first half tries to put his side 31-0 up at the turnaround.
Dunlop came out for the restart with more spirit and belief and, after some poor Banbury defensive work, scored a converted try. The two sides exchanged scores, with Simon Brand going over, as Bulls stuttered slightly but Dunlop’s revival was short-lived and the hosts ran in three more tries in the closing stages through Sean Banister, Adam Walsh and Ian Isham.
Alex Stevenson made his return to the first team from the bench and resumed kicking duties from Phillips, adding two conversions from his four attempts.
The pack delivered a strong platform from all the set-pieces and, in very blustery conditions, hooker Seamus O’Dwyer’s accuracy at line-out time was a big factor. But while Bulls remain top their handling needs tidying up and decision making improved ahead of Saturday’s test.