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Banbury Bulls Maintain Top Spot

Bull celebrate planning permission with a bonus point win

Last Updated: Mar 10, 2014 03:41pm
Bodicote, Cherwell
By Ed Phillips
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Bulls celebrate planning permission for a new Clubhouse with a bonus point win over Old Coventrians in a stop-start match marred by too many yellows.

Banbury Bulls maintained top spot in Midlands Two West South as they beat Old Coventrians 31-7 at Bodicote Park where they chalked up their eighth win on the spin.

Bulls were not at their fluent best against an Old Coventrians side which seemed intent on playing a spoiling game against the leaders and the contest became a scrappy affair at times. Both teams had three players yellow carded but Bulls were never seriously troubled as they secured another bonus point victory.

Bulls were soon into their stride and established a 5-0 advantage with five minutes on the clock. Jed Boyle made quick break but was held up, as was Brett Richmond just short of the line. Bulls were awarded a penalty and Ed Phillips took a quick tap and forced his way over.

Alex Fogavini missed the conversion and Bulls failed to make the most of their breakthrough, allowing Old Coventrians to get a foothold in the game. The visitors had their chances, Will Boyle made a charge for the line but was tackled by Joe Mills with just the fullback to beat and Alex Telfer missed a kickable penalty.

Bulls woke up and began to reassert their dominance. Number eight Chris Phillips almost forced his way over in front of the posts, Bulls retained possession and spun the ball along the line to Josh Deegan but he was tackled in the corner.

Another strong run by Chris Phillips set up Bulls’ second try. A decisive break inside by Deegan ended with him releasing Boyle who drew his man before slipping the ball to Mills who went over in the corner. Fogavini’s conversion attempt fell well short against a strong breeze but he soon had his chance to make amends as Bulls stretched their lead.

Ed Phillips made a clever reverse pass to the oncoming Deegan who raced through before finding Chris Phillips and he put Matt Brock in to score under the posts. Fogavini added the simple conversion to put Bulls firmly in control.

The visitors finally got on the score sheet just before halftime when Josh Soesan intercepted a wayward kick and raced clear to score, leaving Telfer to add the extras and make it 17-7 at the break.

Old Coventrians received a setback shortly after the restart when Paul Wilkes was yellow carded. Following another period of scrappy play Chris Phillips and his opposite number Pete Griffin soon followed to spend ten minutes on the sidelines.

When things settled down, Bulls increased their lead with a bonus point try following another infringement by the visitors in their 22. Ed Phillips took a quick tap penalty to Fogavini who linked up well with Simon Brand and Boyle to create the opening for James Heywood to shoot through the gap.

Fogavini’s conversion put Bulls 24-7 ahead before referee Owen Venables restored parity when he yellow carded Richmond.

But there was no stopping Bulls and they made the game safe following a period of sustained pressure. Bulls were awarded a ten metre scrum and Ed Phillips set up Heywood who ran in his second try and Fogavini added the extras for a 31-7 lead.

Telfer and Nick Pratt each received yellow cards in the closing stages but the contest was well and truly over before then.

Banbury face Henley Bulls in the Oxfordshire Semi Final on Thursday 13th, 7:45 kick off.

Photographs: Simon Grieve

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