Battling Bicester pip Alchester in local derby

Alchester and Bicester get ready for a scrum. Picture by Jake McNulty
Alchester and Bicester get ready for a scrum. Picture by Jake McNulty
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Bicester stretched their winning run to five matches with a battling 19-10 win over rivals Alchester in a fiercely-contested local derby.

Despite losing the penalty count 13-6, the visitors did just enough to earn a victory, albeit without the additional bonus point, with Dan Spencer was named Man of the Match for another fine all-round performance.

Bicester went ahead after 13 minutes following superb play by their forwards as Alchester were wheeled off their own scrum by the visitors and after the ensuing Bicester penalty was fired into the corner, forwards Dave Behan, Matt Dye and Steve Limerick drove on powerfully for prop Tom Horwood to stretch across for an unconverted try.

The visitors scored another well-worked try 14 minutes later and this time it was Dickie Walsh who initiated the move with a quick burst up the right before Mike Harris transferred the ball to the left where Bicester were awarded a scrum from which Harris, Walsh and winger Peter Tarrega worked the ball back to the centre.

Alchester then conceded a five metre scrum and though Dan Spencer drove over the line, referee Aubrey Collings awarded the visitors a penalty try which Andrew Cook easily converted.

Alchester hit back immediately as they recycled the ball across the field until prop Charlie Surman plunged across the try line.

Fly-half Adam White added the extras to bring his side to within five at half-time.

The home side were showing impressive resolve given their lowly league position and they reduced the arrears to just two points when White slotted over a penalty.

Bicester replacement Matt Duncalf went close, as did Peter Tarrega, and when Alchester then drove to the posts from a scrum, only a massive defensive effort by Bicester centre Dave Hampton prevented a certain try by Alchester prop Craig Boyce.

Both sides fought tooth and nail with the next score crucial in this gripping contest, and eventually it was Bicester who made certain of victory through Dave Aslett, who powered over for a try that was converted by Cook to give the visitors victory by nine points.

The result keeps Bicester sixth in the Southern Counties North with Alchester still rooted to the bottom.

Elsewhere, Alex MacDonald scored a hat-trick for Bicester IIs in their 59-17 win over Grove IIs, while the IIIs were beaten 37-5 by Abingdon and the Colts defeated Wootton Bassett 34-7 with Lewis Foy scoring a brace of tries.

With no league game this weekend, Bicester turn their attention to the semi-finals of the Southern Counties Cup as they travel to High Wycombe.