Lightening stops play

Banbury Bulls 18 - 12 Earlsdon

Last Updated: Jan 26, 2014 09:13pm
Bodicote, Cherwell
By Bob Mitchelmore
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Lightening stops play as the Bulls defeat league leaders Earlsdon

In a game that ended in controversy the Bulls were perhaps a little fortunate to be awarded the win.

With the match entering the final quarter Bodicote Park was hit by a violent storm (pictured) which the referee deemed made the match unsafe to continue. With the time on the clock having exceeded the 60 minute mark and the Bulls leading 18-12 the rules of the competition meant that the Bulls were declared winners.

Whilst the visiting Earlsdon team were understandably unhappy with the decision as the game was very much in the balance with the visitors having the advantage of the elements in their favour, nothing should be taken away from an excellent performance from the Bulls in seeing off the league leaders.

From the kick-off the Bulls, with the strong wind at their backs, were quickly into their stride, enjoying the greater share of territory and possession. Only good Earlsdon defence kept their line intact, but the Bulls pressure did yield a penalty converted by Alex Fogavini. The lead was increased with a top quality try demonstrating the best of the Bulls open style of rugby. From a scrum around halfway scrum-half, Eddie Phillips initiated a blind side move to put Josh Deegan in the clear, and when the winger was stopped deep in the Earlsdon 22 quickly recycled ball and crisp handling enabled hooker, "Ernie" Ell, who was to enjoy an excellent game throughout, to feed Jed Boyle who shredded the remaining defence with  a side step to score under the posts. With Fogavini adding the extras the Bulls held a 10-0 lead.

Earlsdon then began to show why they were the leaders by battering away at the Banbury line, forcing the Bulls to concede a number of penalties which eventually led to a yellow card for prop, Micky Fox. Taking advantage of their numerical advantage Earlsdon, going through the phases finally breached the Bulls defence with winger, Tom Walker, scoring in the corner. Worse was to follow when the speedy Walker intercepted a Bulls pass deep in his own half to run the length of the field for a try under the posts converted by Chris Scott to give Earldon the lead. The Bulls did regain the lead on the stroke of half time with a second Fogavini penalty, but a single point advantage appeared too little to defend against the ever strengthening wind.

Earlsdon began the second half dominating territory but determined Banbury defence kept their line intact, and having weathered the pressure the Bulls returned to the attack forcing the visitors to concede penalties in the "red zone" which led to two yellow cards. The two man advantage led to space being created for Boyle to cross to increase the Banbury lead. 

With Earlsdon restored to a full complement and the elements in their favour the game was delicately poised, but the the weather intervened leaving the Bulls thankful they were not obliged to hold on to their lead in the closing stages.

Despite the unsatisfactory conclusion to the game the Bulls will be encouraged by claiming the scalp of the league leaders,which cements their position in the upper echelons of the table.


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