Bicester suffered a shock defeat at the weekend when they were beaten 24-17 by bottom side Milton Keynes in the Southern Counties North.
The visitors failed to reproduce their recent fluency and cohesion in a scrappy and error-strewn contest against an aggressive Milton Keynes side who defended resolutely and attacked clinically.
Bicester dominated the early stages and won four successive scrums, but the home side held firm before going ahead against the run of play when Michael Fitzgerald plunged across from a tap-penalty move, and that was shortly followed by another try, this time from Andrew Poole, as MK took a 12-0 lead into half-time.
The hosts remained in the ascendency in the second half and a third try, scored by Fitzgerald from a driven line-out, extended the lead to 17 points.
This seemed to spark Bicester into life as the visitors, showing a renewed sense of urgency, produced a superb handling move from a scrum which led to prop Dave Behan crashing over.
Bicester then went close from a driven line-out on the left before Milton Keynes were shunted backwards off their own scrum ball, and from the ensuing penalty, the ball was whipped out wide to the right, where winger Dave Aslett put centre Dave Hampton over in the corner for another try.
However, just as Bicester looked to be getting a foothold, MK put the game to bed through Jack Linthwaite’s converted try, although Bicester’s Steve Limbrick managed a late consolation, with Tom Miles adding the extras to earn the visitors a losing bonus-point.