Newbury Blues 31 Banbury Bulls 7
BLUES eventually put Bulls to the sword to chalk up a bonus point win that leaves the rest lagging behind them as the top three in South West One East continue to break away.
That extra point was welcome as leaders Old Patesians had to settle for a straightforward 15-10 win over Swindon, while Maidenhead ran home 80 points on thie rplastic surface against Blues’ next opponents Chippenham.
Blues had to survive an early examination by a Banbury side that went into the game on the back of an eight-match unbeaten streak, and they had the home side under early pressure on a game played on one of the outer pitches at a chilly Monks Lane.
Bulls missed an early penalty but went ahead after 13 minutes when Matt Goode’s break off from behind a scrum ended with Freddie Cracknell bursting in for Ed Phillips to convert.
But Blues had little tme to dwell on the setback before they were back on terms, Toby Thorne breaking away to score with Nick Wackitz converting, and the worst of the Bulls pressure was over and a missed Phillips penalty on the stroke of half-time was the only threat before Blues went ahead three minutes after the interval when skipper Dan Thorne cut a perfect path to the line.
Thorne struck again midway through the half, Joe Pigott converting, and Blues were rarely threatened in those 40 minutes as they wore down the visitors, especially up front, and earned their reward with two tries in stoppage time, both touched down by replacement Camron Golby-Barr as he took his return to three tres in two cameo appearances as fourth in the table Bulls were cast 18 points adrift in the table.
Newbury Blues: T.Thone;Hackett, D. Thorne, Love, Futcher; Wackwitz, Pigott; Hicks, Drysdale, Macauley; Bastable, Doel; Winfield, Stewart, Davis. Subs: Johnston, Golby-Barr, Millar.
Thatcham also enjoyed a warm outing in the cold as they won 35-0 at bottom of the table Bletchley in Southern Counties North, and Hungerford romped to a 48-7 home win over Phoenix in the only game played in the Berks, Bucks and Oxon Premier Division, in which they now stand second in the table.