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Home > News > Witney 58 - Bicester 3
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Your News Witney 58 - Bicester 3
02
NOV

A nine try romp on paper but in reality, a bruising local derby where the

visitors battled well throughout. Witney started with a bang as Henry Lamb

released James Lamb who powered through a half gap and opened up to score in

the opening five minutes. Ed Mitchem added a conversion and a penalty to

leave Witney 10 points to the good and the match barely underway. Any side at

the bottom of the League facing that will either crumble or show heart and

the visitors have a proud club who showed bundles of heart and knuckled down.

The open play was competitive and the set piece as combative as ever but

generally Witney were on top. The play sometimes got a bit panicked as Witney

chased the next score but a superb forward rumble gave the team confidence

and the second score was surely not far away as Bicester struggled to really

break out of their own half.

It came after concerted pressure when Witney had tested the visitors defence

at most levels before some quick hands saw Carl Strutt broke through and

showed good strength to touch down, the conversion narrowly missed. Witney

shone for the next ten minutes with Ed Mitchem causing constant questions and

only a magnificent tap tackle prevented him breaking through. Great handling

by the threequarters saw Tom Overbury released and only a fine tackle by the

Bicester full back saw that chance gone but Witney were in full control with

forwards Joe Rowles and Wayne Caffekey causing mayhem in the loose with their

line breaks.

It was Bicester who created the next score but not in the way they wanted. A

good kick from Henry Lamb put Bicester on the back foot and good following up

by James Monks put the full back under pressure and despite him getting

through the first tackle the ball was intercepted by the ever alert Carl

Strutt who €œcruised€ in from halfway, Ed Mitchem converting. With halftime

approaching another score was unlikely but nobody told big Joe Rowles that!

The makeshift second row had a stomping opening 40 minutes and powered over

from close range to give the home supporters a real tonic before halftime,

the conversion making it a whopping 29-0 margin at the interval.

The opening five minutes was crucial to either kill the game off or get

Bicester back into the match and as in the opening half, Witney enjoyed the

best possible start. Some sublime handling saw Wayne Caffekey break the line

yet again and his pass inside to scrum half Gareth Campbell saw the

inspirational number nine cross over. Ed Mitchems conversion made it 36-0 and

the score could only one way now couldn€™t it ? Well, nobody told Bicester

that and whether it was Witney taking their foot off the gas or the visitors

playing for pride, who knows, but Bicester enjoyed their best 15 minutes of

the match. They fought for everything and forced penalties from the home

side. Wayne Caffekey had reluctantly left the field with an injury and

combatitive Richard Kerr came on for a deserved debut at hooker, with Sam

Collins moving to blind side. Bicester really knuckled down and only superb

Witney defence kept them out with James Monks sweeping to great effect and

saving a certain score. The Bicester onslaught was kept at bay apart from one

successful penalty and the home supporters urged the team not to rest on

their laurels and press for more scores. They did just that and the next one

came from a clever nudge through from Henry Lamb which saw Carl Strutt show

surprising pace to get the touchdown. It was a hat-trick for the centre and

it showed what a good eye for the try line he has.

This knocked the stuffing out of the visitors and the next ten minutes were

one way traffic and Witney really put Bicester to the sword. When luck is not

going your way, things go against you and a neat chip through from Witney saw

Bicester€™s winger cover across in text book style and sweep on the ball only

to spill it, bang into the post and the ball being lost. Witney skipper James

Lamb swooped and showed great ball skills to not knock on and score a great

opportunist try, Mitchem converting. Next came from Gareth Campbell who

completed a brace after great work from Richard Kerr who took one against the

head and set up the scrum half for a blind side scamper. That took Witney

over 50 points but argueably the best was yet to come. A scrum midfield saw

makeshift number 8 Carl Campbell break on the blind side and a couple of

sweetly timed passes later, James Monks was released and a classic side step

inside showed him a clear run to the line which he took and the final tally

of 58 points was completed.

A great win over their local rivals and while you couldn€™t really argue with

any of the tries, the scoreline perhaps was unfair on the visitors who showed

far more than their League position suggests. Next week it€™s the dreaded

journey to a much improved Slough outfit and a any sort of result would be

superb given the number of Witney sides who have travelled back down the M40

with nothing over the years.

1st XV

Michem, Overbury, Strutt, *Lamb(J), Monks, Lamb(H), Campbell(G): Serle,

Collins(S), Richens, Rowles, Bennett(C), Muller, Campbell(C), Caffekey

Repl: Gosling, Kerr(Caffekey-45), Lambourne(Overbury-60)

VIEW FROM THE TOUCHLINE

Really enjoyed the spirit in the team given all the changes and the tries

were €œgoodens€. The coaches were extremely pleased with the way the guys were

trying to put the hard work on the training paddock into action on a

Saturday. To me, the defence was as important as the tries though with Monksy

saving one and the impressive Carl Campbell everywhere with €œan engine€ that

just keeps on going. Joe Rowles was outstanding in the first half and offered

the physical presence that was missing with Owen Fowler and Lewis Griffiths

both absent. Ed Mitchem also had a great game from the back with great

communication which was apparent throughout the team and they are learning

valuable lessons each week. It€™s a long season and the run up to Christmas

will really show the metal of the squad, only time will tell. Nice that the

lads put on a good show for the supporters and especially for Witney stalwart

Frank Grant who has been unwell but came up to watch the match.

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