Earlsdon 28 - 25 Banbury Bulls

Midlands 2 West (South)

Last Updated: Oct 29, 2013 06:26pm
Harvington, Wychavon
By Bob Mitchelmore
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Having overcome a half time deficit to take the lead in the final quarter of the match the Bulls will be disappointed with their failure to close the game out to secure a moral boosting win against the unbeaten league leaders.

In an evenly matched contest in which Banbury enjoyed an advantage in possession and territory it was an outstanding Earlsdon defence and their ability to make the most of their opportunities allied to the accurate boot of flyhalf Chris Scott which carried the day. 

Once more the Bulls started slowly and Earlsdon took an early lead when weak tackling allowed them to establish field position and good handling and ball retention created a hugh overlap for Sam Chare to score under the posts. Chris Scott adding the simple conversion. Banbury then preceded to up their game putting the Earlsdon defence under pressure, but were unable to put points on the board, spurning very kickable penalty opportunities in favour of attacking lineouts.

Earlsdon's strong defence was rewarded when Alex Fogavini's kick ahead was charged down by his opposite number Scott who gathered the ball, making ground to half way before putting centre Rhys Roberts in for a clear run to the line for a try again converted by Scott. Banbury continued to take the game to the opposition and were finally rewarded when sustained pressure resulted in a Fogavini penalty. With half time approaching  and Earlsdon down to fourteen men following a yellow card Banbury forced a five yard scrum from which second row forward Matt Brock forced his way over to reduce the deficit to six point at the break.

A Fogavini penalty early in the second half further narrowed the gap, but the Bulls comeback was halted when the Earlsdon winger, Tom Walker, receiving the ball on his own 22 beat a series of flimsy tackles to score in the corner. Scott adding the gloss with an excellent conversion. Banbury continuing to enjoy the terriorial advantage finally managed to engineer an overlap for winger Alex Gandy (pictured) who had the space to beat the cover defence for a fine try which Fogavini converted.

With the game entering the closing stages Banbury took the lead when Fogavini shimmied through the hitherto tight Earlsdon defence to score at the posts, and the conversion gave Banbury a four point lead. Earlsdon, to their credit were unwilling to give up their unbeaten record and with their forwards gaining the upper hand forced a line out close to the Banbury line and the subsequent catch and drive proved unstoppable as Sam Chare crossed for his second try, converted from the touchline by Scott. With time running out there was to be no comeback by the Bulls who will feel that this was a game that they could and perhaps should have won. On the positive side Banbury showed that they can compete with the top sides and will be looking to bounce back next week against Kidderminster.


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