Bulls take playoff race to the final game of the season!
By Alex Inch
Banbury secured all 5 points on the penultimate game of the season with a 14-38 victory away at Wimborne. A brace of tries from Dan Brady and a man of the match performance from Sam Carr-Archer helped secure the victory.
Dan Brady opened the scoring with a brilliant solo effort. Wimborne kicked deep but Brady returned in style, breaking through the Wimborne line before stepping two more players to score under the posts. Ed Phillips converted, Wimborne 0 Banbury 7.
Pete Boulton sucked in four Wimborne defenders with a rampaging run. Tommy Gray quickly exploited the situation bursting through a gap in the Wimborne line before weaving his way through the cover defence to score under the posts. Ed Phillips added the extras, Wimborne 0 Banbury 14.
Banbury’s third try was another spectacular one. Justin Parker broke down the right wing before offloading to Ian Isham. The skipper kicked the ball infield which Ed Phillips gathered before playing in Duncan Leese under the posts. Another simple conversion for Ed Phillips and it was 0-21.
Ryan Maidment got Wimborne back into the game when he intercepted a loose Banbury pass before running in untouched under the posts. Joel Mariner converted, 7-21.
Dan Brady scored his second try shortly after half time. Joe Mills collected a high kick close to the halfway line and Duncan Leese did brilliantly to withstand a heavy counter ruck from Wimborne. Dan Brady reacted brilliantly to get the ball out and sneak his way down the blindside before running half the pitch to score out to the left of the posts. Ed Phillips converted, 7-28.
Wimborne narrowed the lead after Dylan Case exploited a mix up in the Banbury defence to burst through the Banbury line and touch down under the posts. Joel Mariner converted, 14-28.
Tom Eyston stole a 5m Wimborne lineout and a couple phases later Pete Boulton smashed his way through the Wimborne defence to score to the left of the posts. Ed Phillips converted, 14-35.
With the clock winding down, Ed Phillips kicked a penalty to extend the lead further after Wimborne were penalised for a high tackle. Ed Phillips making it a 100% day with the boot. 14-38.
Both teams had chances late on, but the scores remained unchanged until the final whistle. A good win for Banbury between two very even sides. Banbury were more clinical when they had possession and defended really well. No one exemplified this more than Banbury’s man of the match Sam Carr-Archer. The Second Row defended brilliantly, and his performance capped a fine season overall.
Speaking to stand in Head Coach for the game, James Kerr:
14-38, the score line probably makes it look like an easier game than it was, Wimborne were a tough opposition, weren’t they? “I think we won the game with our opening 15-20 minutes. We were really clinical, we kept possession and pinned them in their own 22. We went through multiple phases when we did score. I think that’s where it was won. I think the remaining hour of the game was very even. They had some really big boys and I think defensively we had to be really switched on. We had a good regroup at half time and said what we wanted to do, and we implemented that well.”
It can be tough to switch on mentally on these long away trips, were you impressed by how well they played and got themselves up for the game?
“100%, I think that’s the best I’ve seen us prepare in these kinds of situations. We’re working towards the cup final and trying to reach our best levels. It’s not just about this game, it’s about keeping the pressure on Old Centralians, getting ready for the cup final. There’s a lot for us to compete for. I think the boys had that mindset when they were preparing for today’s game.”
You’ve got the last home game of the season next week vs Witney. It’s going to be a big family day event, it’s going to be a great atmosphere isn’t it? “It’s going to be awesome, it’s what Banbury Rugby Club is all about. It’s about families and the community. We want as many people there as possible to celebrate our season.”