Bicester gave their promotion hopes a huge boost at the weekend with a dominant 29-17 victory over Hungerford that saw them leapfrog their Berkshire opponents into second place in the BBO Premier.
Bicester controlled all phases of play as they scored five tries to lead by 29 points midway through the second half in an exciting, end-to-end contest at Oxford Road, and although a rejuvenated Hungerford produced a late rally, they were unable to gain a valuable losing bonus point, which means Bicester now occupy second spot on points difference.
The home side began on top and their early pressure was rewarded with a 25-metre penalty chance and though Steve Miller missed, Bicester were in the ascendency and on 21 minutes they pounced on a loose ball before working it wide to Dan Spencer who stormed across for a try on the right, which Miller converted.
Bicester added a second score almost immediately, as Miller and fly-half Michael harris initiated a slick passing move from which Matt Dye sprinted over on the left.
Miller once again hit the post with a penalty attempt, before Dave Behan was held up close to the line, but superb play by debutant Berte Kennedy earned Bicester another penalty and the ball was whipped to the centre where a powerful drive sent another debutant, Philip Small, dashing under the posts, giving Bicester a 17-0 half-time lead.
The hosts maintained their dominance at the start of the second period and added a fourth try through Spencer, who then turned creator to send winger Dave Aslett across, giving Bicester a commanding 29-point lead.
However, the visitors then took full advantage of Miller’s ten-minute absence as the Bicester man was sent to the bin, as first Dominic Taylor stretched across before Bradley Clough touched down in the corner for a converted try that gave Hungerford hope of snatching at least a bonus-point. But despite a third try through Clough, it was too little too late for the visitors as Bicester held out to boost their promotion hopes.
Bicester host fifth-placed Slough this weekend.