Bicester back to winning ways with Marlow triumph

Bicester's man of the match Andrew Faulkner taking on the Marlow defence. Picture by Lisa Horwood
Bicester's man of the match Andrew Faulkner taking on the Marlow defence. Picture by Lisa Horwood
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Bicester are back on the winning trail thanks to a superb all round team display that earned them a 30-15 win over Marlow on Saturday.

Following a valiant defeat to league leaders High Wycombe last time out, Bicester produced another excellent performance to cement their position in sixth place in the Southern Counties North.

Once again the home forwards dominated the scrums and flanker Andrew Faulkner was nominated Man of the Match for his outstanding performance in the loose play, while the backs were also in sparkling form with John Behan and Dickie Walsh both scoring tries.

The hosts were on top from kick-off as Behan, Dan Spencer, Mike Harris and Francois Wiese combined to send winger Dave Aslett racing over the try line, but before he could ground the ball, it was ripped off him by a Marlow defender.

The visitors could only partially clear, however, as Bicester gathered the ball before flanker Wiese drove on to create space for fly-half Tom Miles to unleash a drop goal.

Marlow’s Connor McKillop replied with a penalty to bring the scores level, but an infringement from the visitors gifted Miles a penalty attempt of his own and he made no mistake to restore Bicester’s three point lead.

Then came the first try of the afternoon when a penalty was fired into touch near the left corner and from the line-out, prop Tom Horwood drove powerfull up the centre before Behan danced his way over the try line, with Miles adding the extras.

The lead was cut to five points at half-time though, after Marlow winger Shaun Miller sprinted across in the corner for an unconverted try.

The first quarter of the second period was a scrappy affair and it was not until the 66th minute that the next points were scored as an injury forced Miles off the field, with Dan Spencer taking over the kicking duties as he slotted over a 25-metre penalty.

Bicester were now in the ascendancy and following a lightning burst by replacement winger Matt Duncalf down the right, they won a turnover on the left, from which scrum half Mike Harris in the centre linked with Dave Hampton to put full-back Walsh across to the right of the posts.

Spencer added the extras, and as Bicester intercepted a Marlow pass on the left side, Behan’s spectacular 30-metre burst was halted short of the line, but a ruck was formed, and lock Andrew Faulkner plunged across for a well deserved try.

Spencer again converted to put the result beyond doubt, although Marlow had the final say when Matthew Saunders sauntered across for a late try, converted by McKillop.

Bicester have two games remaining, starting with this Saturday’s trip to bottom side Milton Keynes.

Elsewhere, tries from Anthony Nightingale, Martin Ewins and Ali Atashgah earned Bicester IIIs a 19-17 victory over Harwell.