DCS Stadium at Bodicote Park – Saturday 20th January 2018
Match report by Alex Inch, photos by Simon Grieve
Banbury came into this game 2nd in the league whereas Marlow were 2nd from the bottom. However, in the reverse fixture the game finished in a 28-28 draw with Marlow producing some great rugby. With this game kicking off in horrendous conditions there was a real chance of an upset if Banbury weren’t switched on.
However, the Bulls simply flew out the blocks and had an early try in the first couple minutes. Sam Stoop chipped over the top and Jack Briggs outsprinted the covering fullback to touchdown in the corner. Ed Phillips couldn’t convert but the Bulls had an early 5-0 lead.
Ed Phillips kicked an easy penalty from in front of the posts to increase the lead to 8-0 after Marlow were punished for offside. The backs for both teams were trading kicks in the wet conditions but it was the Banbury players who were gaining more ground. Ed Phillips put a brilliant box kick into the clubhouse corner which the Marlow fullback felt like he had to kick out under pressure from Josh Deegan. From the resulting lineout the Bulls pack got Ian Isham to within a couple metres of the try line before he darted his way over. Ed Phillips converted to make it 15-0.
Banbury increased the lead with a brilliant try. Sam Stoop chipped to the corner again, although the ball looked like it was going to go out for a lineout Joe Mills expertly slid and kicked the ball at the same time to put Tommy Gray in for a lovely try in the corner. Some brilliant quick thinking from Joe Mills producing one of the more unique tries of the year. Ed Phillips nailed a tricky conversion to make it 22-0.
The Bulls still had time for one more try before half time. Ed Phillips put in another excellent box kick and Joe Mills out-muscled his opposite number to win the ball. Just as Marlow looked like they’d got hold of him, Joe Mills offloaded to younger brother Jacob Mills who showed some excellent strength to drive his way through two Marlow players and score out to the left. Ed Phillips converted to make it 29-0 at the half time whistle.
Marlow started the second half brightly with a period of sustained pressure. Ken Key got a yellow card for Banbury after collapsing a rolling maul. The rolling maul was one of Marlow’s main threats and they used it expertly to get the first try of the second half. Stuart Silvester touching down out to the left. Miles Noble converted to reduce the lead to 29-7.
Any hopes of a comeback were crushed when Pete Boulton scored. Ed Phillips picked up from the base of a ruck on the edge of the 22 passed to Pete Boulton who burst through a gap in the Marlow defensive line, crashed through the last man before touching down out to the right. Ed Phillips couldn’t add the extra’s to leave it 34-7.
Banbury finished the game brightly with a flurry of late tries. Banbury took advantage of a 3 on 2 down the blind side, Jimmy Manley shipping the ball on to Tommy Gray who quickly moved it on to George Grieve (pictured above) who dived over in the corner. Ed Phillips side-line kick fell just short, but the lead was now 39-7.
Sam Stoop scored arguably the try of the game with some fantastic footwork. Marlow attempted to grubber the ball through, but Sam Stoop showed some great reactions to block the kick with his foot, he charged on to the loose ball and kicked the ball through off the floor without breaking stride. Sam Stoop won the footrace, diving on to the loose ball and sliding his way through the mud for a brilliant solo try in the left corner. Ed Phillips couldn’t add the extras to leave it 44-7.
Banbury still had time for one more before the full-time whistle. Ed Phillips made two successive line breaks before passing to Tommy Gray who was tackled narrowly short. Tommy Gray popped the ball up off the floor to the onrushing George Grieve who snuck his way across in the corner before sprinting from out wide to touchdown under the posts. Ed Phillips converted to take Banbury over the 50-point margin, 51-7.
The full-time whistle followed shortly afterwards. Some brilliant rugby from Banbury in horrendous conditions. The pitch and the weather didn’t look like it was going to allow a good performance, but the Bulls adjusted to the conditions perfectly. Banbury’s kicking game was another level, some of the skills shown would have been expected over in the Spencer Stadium rather than inside the DCS Stadium. Kallum Dixey was awarded Banbury’s man of the match, he didn’t put a foot wrong in defence all day and his tackling statistics must have been off the charts.
Speaking to Matt Goode after the game:
Was that the perfect response after last week’s disappointing performance? “We knew in ourselves last week wasn’t right. Last week was disappointing but this week we focused on mental attitude and defence. The boys stuck to their guns and what we’d practiced on Tuesday and Thursday and executed it well.”
Was it about righting some wrongs after the draw in the reverse fixture? “Not really, we just wanted to build on last week and put those wrongs right. When we drew at Marlow they played very well. Today was all about mental attitude.”
You kicked very well today, was that part of the game plan or just adjusting to the conditions? “A little bit of both, we did talk about it, playing in the right areas. We do that most weeks, but when you hit some great kicks and your defensive line is working well you stick with it and this week we did that exceptionally well.”
That’s now 8 games you’ve won in a row, it’ll be very tough to make it 9, can you do it? “Yes, no doubt about it, if we focus and stick to our game plan and stick to our tactics like we have this week it’ll go well. We know Old Centralians away is a tough test, but we won their last year, so we’ve got to believe we can do it next week as well.”
Kallum Dixey was awarded man of the match, he had a brilliant game, today didn’t he? “Yep, the boy didn’t put a foot wrong all day, he was outstanding. Man of the Match was very close, followed by Sam Stoop and Ed Phillips. Their partnership controlled the game really well. But Kallum Dixey was another level this week. I think his tackling, support play and his catching at restarts were second to none.”
Banbury Try scorers: George Grieve (2) Jack Briggs, Ian Isham, Tommy Gray, Jacob Mills, Pete Boulton, Sam Stoop.
15. Tommy Gray (Sponsored by: Edd Frost & Daughters)
14. Joe Mills (Sponsored by: DTC International)
13. Jimmy Manley (Sponsored by: Godiva Insurance)
12. Jack Briggs
11. Josh Deegan (Sponsored by: Allsafe Scaffolding)
10. Sam Stoop (Sponsored by: H Colegrave & Son)
9. Ed Phillips (Sponsored by: P Montanaro – ITSM Consultancy)
1. Ken Key (Sponsored by: Lockwoods Ski and Outdoor)
2. Ian Isham (Captain) (Sponsored by: Fieldcraft)
3. Pete Boulton (Sponsored by: BRUFC SAGA Department)
4. Kallum Dixey
5. Sam Carr Archer
6. Giles Saar (Sponsored by: Jamie Briggs Removals & Storage)
7. Jacob Mills (Sponsored by: Hire Safe Solutions)
8. Chris Phillips (Sponsored by: Lorne Alway)
16. Joe Winpenny
17. Matt Brock
18. George Grieve