In-form Bicester grab win over Hungerford

Bicester 27

Hungerford 10

Bicester 1st XV won their fourth successive league game, but not without giving their supporters a few anxious moments late on.

Leading only 15-10 with 15 minutes of playing time left, skipper and man of the match Dan Spencer prevented a certain try with a stupendous tackle as Hungerford drove to the line off a Bicester five-metre scrum.

Soon afterwards debutant winger Chris Nixon, who had replaced Craig Smith on the left, scored a try and straightaway Spencer added his second try to put his side out of sight.

In the first half, Hungerford, playing uphill, won the penalty count 11-5, but Bicester won turnover ball seven times and apart from Dan Spencer, Dickie Walsh too prevented an almost certain try with a superb tackle. The line-outs were evenly contested but Bicester held the ascendancy in the scrums, while their backs showed great enterprise in attack.

Straight from the kick-off Bicester wheeled a Hungerford scrum near halfway and from the ensuing scrum centre Adam Spencer broke sharply down the right before offloading to Walsh, who sent winger Dave Aslett scorching over in the corner. Full-back Dave Cree slotted over 35 metre penalty for the visitors before Bicester struck again.

Two minutes from half time, tremendous driving, led by prop Nick Evans, from a stolen Hungerford line-out on the right, ended with hooker Dan Horwood crossing for another unconverted try.

Just two minutes after the break Bicester heeled a Hungerford scrum against the head on the left and Dan Spencer picked up before crashing over in the corner.

Hungerford cut the Bicester lead to five points when full-back Cree recycled quick ball from a scrum to send centre John Bastible streaking over to the left of the posts. Cree adding the conversion points.

Twenty-five minutes from time, Bicester replacement flanker Wayne Varney was red-carded but Bicester twice denied the visitors possible tries.

An overhead chip kick from a scrum by Spencer wrong-footed the Hungerford defence and superb cross-field handling by the backs created an overlap for winger Chris Nixon to touch down wide out on the left for Bicester’s fourth try, Risbridger converting. Immediately, Spencer intercepted a short pass before steaming over on the left for his second try of the game.

>> Earlier that week Bicester went down 25-12 to a Rugby Lions Development side.

Bicester’s tries were scored by Aslett, Jack Horwood, with Walsh converting.

Bicester II were losing 36-7 to Oxford Harlequins III last Saturday, Holdsworth scoring Bicester’s try, when the match was abandoned after 50 minutes due to the loss of several players by Bicester.

Bicester I visit Alchester this Saturday in the league and Oxon Shield first round.