Bicester hold off late Beaconsfield surge

Bicester captain Matt Dye. Picture by Lisa Horwood
Bicester captain Matt Dye. Picture by Lisa Horwood

Bicester recorded another victory in the Southern Counties North when they held off a late Beaconsfield surge to run out 17-15 victors after a hard-fought contest.

The visiting pack of forwards were dominant in the set-piece scrums and line-outs, while their backs, led by Dave Hampton, James Grosvenor, Francois Wiese and Dave Aslett, tackled ferociously to help their side into a 10-0 half-time lead.

However, Beaconsfield won a lot of turnover ball in the second half and despite trailing 17-3 with just 10 minutes remaining, the hosts scored two late tries as Bicester’s travelling supporters had to endure a few anxious moments before the Beaconsfield conversion kick dropped short of the posts.

Beaconsfield’s Robert Waldron was off-target with an early 25-metre penalty kick before the visitors went ahead midway through the half when fly-half Tom Miles slotted over a penalty.

Bicester then increased their advantage with the first try of the game as Dan Spencer broke sharply down the left side before the ball was recycled to captain Matt Dye, who embarked on a storming 20-metre burst to the try line.

Miles’ conversion put the visitors into a 10-0 half-time lead.

Having missed another penalty attempt early in the second half, Waldron quickly made amends with a penalty goal to reduce the arrears to seven points, however Bicester hit straight back with a second try that resulted from several superb moves featuring both backs and forwards.

First, powerful driving play by lock Ryan Gallacher and flanker Adrian Teckoe led to a scrum, from which a slick handling move by backs Dave Aslett, Hampton and Miles took the visitors deep into the Beaconsfield 22 on the far side.

Beaconsfield then conceded another scrum, and as the visitors powered towards the line, the maul was disrupted, leaving the referee to award a penalty try, which Miles easily converted to give Bicester what appeared an unassailable 14-point lead with just 10 minutes remaining.

Almost immediately, however, Beaconsfield counter-attacked down the left side and despite a huge tackle by Dave Hampton, open-side flanker Chris Creak plunged across to the left of the posts.

Waldron converted to set up a nail-biting finish and tensions grew further when winger Jack Hockin went over in the corner.

With the hosts now trailing by two just points, Waldron had the chance to earn his side a draw but his conversion attempt narrowly missed and Bicester only had to hoof a penalty into touch to claim their ninth win of the season.

Bicester, who have moved up to fifth in the Southern Counties North, now have a week off before returning to action with a home game against Thatcham on February 21.