RUGBY: Bicester can count themselves lucky to win 14-9 last Saturday after a lacklustre performance against a Gosford side, who looked to be heading for victory just 10 minutes from time.
Then suddenly the visitors redsicovered their recent good form, slotting over two penalties either side of a try by no 8 Daniel Spencer. Upto this point the Bicester ball retention and support play had been abysmal and their attack could make little headway against a resolute Gosford defence.
In the end the visitors did just enough to return home with four points but the All Blacks thoroughly deserved their bonus point.
Bicester fluffed an early opportunity to go ahead when they fumbled their own ball from an attacking line-out on the left. Then a slick passing move involving Craig Smith, Will Morris, Steve Risbridger and Dan Spencer ended with Gosford being awarded a penalty. The Gosford scrum ball was charged down and as centre Dave Hampton broke sharply down the left side Bicester were awarded a penalty which Risbridger banged over from 15 minutes.
Gosford full back and captainTim Ellis, having failed with a 40-metre penalty kick, slotted home a 35-metre one to level the scores 11 minutes from half time. Four minutes later an effort by Ellis sailed just wide of the right post and just before the break he was again off target. As play resumed Gosford took the lead with a well struck drop goal by centre Chris Bennett.
Then Bicester hooker Alex Benjamin saved a certain try when he bundled winger Stewart into touch just five metres from the try line on the left. Ellis increased the Gosford lead to six points with another penalty goal 25 minutes from the end. This proved to be the wake-up call for Bicester and soon flanker Jack Horwood almost put his brother, prop Tom, across from a scrum. From the following scrum Gosford transgressed and Risbridger landed a penalty goal from near the 22 line.
A tremendous sprint down the left by Dan Spencer ensued and from a scrum in the centre Risbridger combined with Hampton to send Spencer across to the right of the posts.
Bicester were now two points ahead and as they surged forward once again the Gosford defence infringed and Risbridger shot over his third penalty goal of the match from 20 metres.
Bicester travel to Littlemore this Saturday, while the 2nds are without a game. The 3rds visit Reading Abbey 3rds.
>>Last Saturday Bicester 2nds ran out 36-15 home winners over Thatcham 2nds. Bicester try scorers were Tony Shaw, Charlie Nohre, Chris Nash, Granville Williams and Jake Holdsworth. James Blake kicked a penalty and four conversions.
Bicester 3rds lost 36-15 at home to Reading Abbey 3rds. Bicester try scorers were Chris Stone and Paul Sullivan.
Paul Allington kicked a conversion and penalty.