Bulls hang on for hard fought win!
By Alex Inch
Banbury got back to winning ways in thrilling fashion. Hanging on for a 17-14 victory vs Old Centralians to lift the Tim Rogers Cup.
Photos by Simon Grieve
On a rather wet and windy afternoon Old Centralians kicked us off and it was clear from the outset it was going to a physical contest with both sides struggling to gain any real territory early on.
Banbury had a kickable penalty but elected to go for the corner in blustery conditions. It soon proved to be a good decision as from the resulting lineout a rolling maul was formed before Joe Winpenny drove the ball over for Banbury in the clubhouse corner. Ed Phillips did brilliantly to convert from the side-line to give Banbury an early 7-0 lead.
Old Centralians levelled when Joe Preece scored under the posts. Robert Winchle found his way through the Banbury line during some broken play before offloading to Joe Preece to sprint clear under the posts. Shay Morgan converting to make it 7-7.
Banbury retook the lead with a great try. Ed Berridge threw a lovely pass to play in Duncan Leese who straightened his run before offloading to Tommy Gray. Gray then cut his way inside to dive over behind the posts. Ed Phillips converted, 14-7.
Old Centralians looked to level the scores before halftime but despite getting within inches of the Banbury line, couldn’t find the breakthrough before Banbury turned the ball over. Timothy Wilcox was shown yellow for Old Cents at the halftime whistle for what looked like back chat.
Despite being a man down Old Cents started the second half brightly and soon it was 14 vs 14 when Sam Stoop was shown yellow for a high tackle.
Ed Phillips kicked a penalty for Banbury when Old Cents were penalised for not releasing. Crucially it made it a two-score game, 17-7.
No sooner were Banbury back up to a full 15 Banbury were back down to 14. Both sides told that the next penalty would see yellow and Sam Carr-Archer was the unfortunate recipient for Banbury.
Old Cents piled on the pressure, but Banbury defended brilliantly. Just before SCA’s yellow was about to end Old Cents found the gap in the Bulls defence, Michael Mathers sprinting his way over the under the posts. Shay Morgan converted quickly as the referee indicated there were 30 seconds of regular time left.
Old Cents did brilliantly from the restart and a number of penalties from Banbury saw Old Cents within inches of the Banbury line again. Tommy Gray saw yellow when he knocked on going for an intercept of an Old Cents pass. Banbury managed to hang on though, defending incredibly and eventually forcing a knock on from Old Cents.
A nail bighting finish to a thrilling game. Banbury defended brilliantly, putting bodies on the line. Duncan Leese was selected as Banbury’s man of the match. He defended incredibly and didn’t put a foot wrong all afternoon. His work rate was next level, willing the boys on to victory.
Speaking to Head Coach, Matt Goode, after the game:
17-14, you were hanging on at the end there but a great result for Banbury RUFC:
“It shows what we’re about, it shows the comradery and what we truly believe in. It was the Tim Rogers cup and today was about passion and about want. They’re an outstanding side, that’s why they’re second in the league. They played some good rugby and didn’t give us a lot of ball to play with. It was tough at the end, we made some mistakes to let them back in the game. I’m a bit disappointed we let them get a point but it’s a win and we’re back on track.”
Were there any worries it might be a repeat like Marlborough at the end there? Does it show the progress your making that you can hang on at the end?
“We’ve had 3 really good performances and I’ve been proud of the boys and what we’ve been doing. Today we’ve beaten a very good side. We made a couple mistakes, but they happen. I’m really proud of how we’ve worked and now we move on to the next couple weeks.”
Big derby against Oxford Harlequins when you’re back, playing on a new 4G pitch, is that something you have to practice for?
“I don’t think we need to practice for it, it’ll be a nice track, we like throwing the ball about and with the state of the pitches in winter time that’s proven difficult. I think we’ll relish playing on a nice dry pitch.”
Duncan Leese was selected as man of the match today, what stood out for you in particular?
“What stood out today is what has stood out nearly every week. The guy is a machine, absolutely outstanding. The last 3 or 4 matches he’s played he could have picked up man of the match. His work rate is great, he’s relentless. Him and Ed Berridge are both new to the club, but they optimize what this club is about and the work rate for 80 minutes.”
Finally, the Tim Rogers cup today, we all miss Tim but there was something special out there in the ground today and the boys certainly delivered for 80 minutes?
“Definitely there were a couple things that didn’t go quite right on the pitch but that passion that he showed around the club was there. With that spirit and that work rate we can always look for the win. Tim Rogers was an absolute stalwart of this club; his family were here today, and they spoke in the dressing room before and gave us an insight into his passion for the club. I think that spurred the boys on, I’m sure they were thinking about that when they were down but needed to get back on there feet for there 5th, 6th, 7th tackle in a row. We’ll enjoy tonight and have a few beers in memory of Tim Rogers.”