Winning runs always come to an end at some stage but head coach Matt Goode was disappointed to see Banbury Bulls’ 100 per cent start ended at the basement boys.
Bulls twice let slip the advantage to draw 28-28 at Marlow in Saturday’s Wadworth 6X South West One East clash with Joe Mils missing a late penalty to clinch the victory. After dropping their first points of the campaign, Bulls were knocked off top spot by Old Patesians.
Marlow quickly showed they were a better side than their previous results had shown. Winger Vasa Bai ran a good line right through the Banbury defence before off-loading to Jamie Maddern who bundled his way over under the posts and Nick Carvey converted.
Banbury levelled with a try from deep, Goode made the initial burst, smashing his way through the Marlow defence before off-loading to Freddie Cracknell who outpaced the covering defender and touched down to the left of the posts. Joe Mills added the extras.
Bulls went in front when Joe Mills took a quick tap-penalty, catching the Marlow defence unprepared and the scrum-half darted his way over under the posts before adding the extras.
Carvey kicked two penalties to close the gap to one point and Marlow had the momentum as they took the lead shortly before halftime. Bai broke down the left and touched down in the corner.
Bulls kicked off the second half with a period of sustained pressure, pinning Marlow deep in their own 22. Joe Mills took another quick tap-penalty and darted his way over before adding the conversion to put his side back in front at 21-18.
Bulls extended their lead when Marlow took a quick penalty but the attempted pass out wide from Tony Lawless was intercepted by Alex Gandy who raced away to touch down and Joe Mills added the extras.
But Marlow weren’t finished and some good breaks from the backs put them deep in the Banbury 22. Marlow exploited a man advantage in the corner to score through Stuart Silvester and Dan Brady sustained a neck injury trying to stop the last pass. After a long delay, Brady was able to walk off the pitch and Carvey missed the conversion but with a couple minutes left Marlow were level.
Carvey broke before off-loading to Silvester who crashed over from short range just wide of the posts. Lawless missed the crucial conversion and with a minute to go Sam Stoop won a penalty but Joe Mills pushed his long-range kick just wide with what was the final play of the game.