Clinical Bicester overwhelm Phoenix

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Bicester 1st XV produced a clinical display on Saturday to overwhelm Phoenix 46-8 in the BBO Premier.

The two forward packs were evenly-matched and Phoenix won the penalty count 16-10, but the Bicester defence was solid throughout, while behind the scrum the home side were outclassed by the superior handling skills, pace and invention of the visiting backs.

Bicester now sit third in the BBO Premier, five points behind second-placed Hungerford, whom they play at Oxford Road this weekend.

Bicester were ahead after 13 minutes against Phoenix, when scrum-half Dickie Walsh’s overhead kick down the left was the prelude to a slick handling move and from a Bicester scrum that followed, Walsh sent Dan Spencer careering across to the right of the posts. Steve Miller converted before he landed a 38-metre penalty after Phoenix had a player yellow carded.

Bicester’s dominance continued as, after good play down the left wing by Dave Aslett and full-back Josh Young, Phoenix were wheeled at a scrum and from the ensuing Bicester put-in, Spencer broke to put Matt Dye under the posts for a converted try.

Good pressure by the home side’s forwards was then rewarded with a penalty that Nigel Coltman easily slotted over to give Phoenix a glimmer of hope with the hosts going into half-time trailing 17-3.

However, nine minutes after the break, a poor clearing kick by the hosts was snaffled up by Bicester and centre Chris Harley broke through two tackles to cross for another converted try to extend the visitors’ lead to 21 points.

Moments later, another Phoenix high ball was brilliantly gathered by Miller, who then raced up the centre to send winger Matt Duncalf over on the right.

Simon Kalufsz reduced the deficit with the home side’s only try of the game, but immediately Dave Behan drove across the try line before Mike Harris and Man of the Match Jamie Stevens both scored to complete an emphatic victory.

Elsewhere, Bicester IIIs lost 44-5 to Aylesbury with Anthony Burrows scoring Bicester’s only try.