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Home > News > Bicester 0 - Witney 32 (including club round up)
Your News Bicester 0 - Witney 32 (including club round up)

A solid away victory at local rivals Bicester but a scoreline which doesn€™t

really reflect the game and only three tries in the last quarter gave Witney a

rather flattering winning margin. This was an odd game with Witney coming out of

the blocks quite well and from the first attacking move of the match winger

Aaron Lambourne was released and seeing a gap behind the defence he chipped over

and looked like he had outpaced the cover to score. The referee was unsighted

though and didn€™t give the try. The Witney pressure continued and from a five

yard scrum they nudged forward gradually but Joe Rowles and Gareth Campbell

failed to convert from the base of the scrum as they elected to pick up rather

than walk over the extra yard. A penalty attempt also went astray from the

normally steady boot of Ed Mitchem and so a potential 15 points had not been

converted. This gave the home side belief and they really started to give it a

go and managed to stop Witney playing and also do some good work themselves with

their 8 and 9 combining to good effect on a number of occasions. Witney still

seemed to hold the trump cards but a mixture of knock on€™s, forward passes and

lack of advantage played by the referee resulted in a stop and start match and a

lack of cohesion in the performance. Some of the Witney players also seemed

below par and perhaps need to look at getting their minds into gear no matter

what the position of the opposition in the League.

The first half wore on and there was little to report on, the back three of Ed

Mitchem, Aaron Lambourne and James Monks all had their moments on the counter

attack but there was a distinct lack of cutting edge in the threequarters and

some hard work is needed at training to give them that sharpness back. Ed

Mitchem slotted a penalty but clear cut chances to score were non existent. Prop

Jamie Burke had one storming run which brought Witney deep into Bicesters 22 and

although he was eventually bundled into touch, the momentum seemed to switch

back to Witney in the final minutes of the half. The ball was won by the

visitors and whipped along to James Monks who chose a superb angle and showed

good strength to cut through some tackles to score. The conversion was missed

but the 8 point margin was breathing space at the interval at least. A few

choice words from the coaches at halftime rammed home the need to the players

for the intensity to go up a notch or two and a big 10 minutes after the break

was needed.

The team responded well from the kick off with Carl Campbell putting pressure on

the Bicester catcher and Witney soon found themselves deep in the hosts 22. The

forwards decided to go on a rumble and edged towards the line. As it collapsed

over the Bicester line the Witney faithful were surprised when the referee

awarded the try despite players from both sides around the ball. Carl Campbell

and Owen Fowler emerged at the bottom of the pile and last man up, Fowler was

awarded the try. Perhaps the luck that eluded the visitors in the early stages

of the match was now with them ? Harsh on Bicester but they responded well and

enjoyed a fine 15 minute period of their own with Witneys possession drying up

and the home side enjoying the territorial advantage even if they didn€™t really

create too many real chances. The home side needed a score to give themselves a

lifeline and as time wore on and it never materialised, you always felt Witney

would regain their advantage and capitalise on the home sides confidence. The

real turning point came from deep inside the Witney 22 where the home side

called for a scrum and were unceremoniously driven back and then harried back to

almost halfway by some committed defence. This really was Bicesters final chance

and Witney capitalised with a good break from inside their own half. James Monks

made some yards before a superb turn of pace from big Joe Rowles who made great

ground before offloading to Ed Mitchem who outpaced the cover to score a nice

try that finally knocked the stuffing out of the home side who were now down to

14 men as injury had hit after they had used all their bench. Mitchem converted

his own try and the match was now in the bag for the visitors. The pressure kept

up and Carl Campbell broke well from the base of a ruck and drew the defence

before flipping the ball out to James Taafe on the wing who finished well.

In the dying minutes of the match Witney put the last nail in the Bicester

coffin as the forwards again rumbled into the home sides 22. As with all

defences these days, the Bicester players fanned out but left a gap for Will

MacBurnie to exploit and he charged on for 15 metres before a good tackle from

the full back stopped him but he popped the ball to a charging Jamie Burke €œlike

a rampaging buffalo€, as Bill McLaren would have said, who was unstoppable from

there and he charged over for his first try for the 1sts, Henry Lamb converting.

It€™s the Cup next week as Witney host Banbury but the lads know they will have

to raise their game for that one and find that cutting edge too. Still, another

two points on the road and another clean sheet, so it can€™t be all that bad!

1st XV

Mitchem, Monks, Strutt, *Lamb(J), Lambourne(Taafe-65), Lamb(H), Campbell(G):

Burke, Collins(S)(Serle-60), Richens, Fowler, Bennett(MacBurnie-50), Muller,

Campbell(C), Rowles

Repl: Serle, MacBurnie, Taafe (all got on)


There have been some titanic battles over the years between these two old rivals

but this is probably one which will not go down in the memory as one of those

€œclassics€ ! There were quite a number of mistakes and too much ball was slowed

down and so there was not too much for the healthy crowd to really get behind.

The referee didn€™t allow advantage which stopped both sides from gaining

momentum and the less said about the organisation of the set scrums, the better.

Witney need to sharpen up at the breakdown and also in the tight rolling mauls

where they allowed the opposition in on the ball on a couple of occasions where

it really should be secured. The backs also need to get some quicker ball which

will allow them to regain their cutting edge. Not all gloom and doom though as

there were plenty of good moments in the match an five tries on the road is far

from shabby. As for Bicester, the consensus in the bar afterwards seemed that

this was their best performance of the season and certainly if they show that

level of commitment and endeavour for the rest of the season, the results will

surely start to come.

Berks, Bucks & Oxon Prem "A"

Witney 2nds 32 - 7 Amersham & Chiltern 2nds

Superb win for the two's.

Scorers were Russ Gurney, Julius Murombedzi, Tom James, Robbie Mills and Simon

Copperwheat. "Copper" also kicked two conversions and a penalty.

Full report to follow.

Berks, Bucks & Oxon North 1

Witney 2nds 5 - 9 Chesham

A close one for Paddy and the lads, perhaps the shock of a home league match

after two months was too much for them!

Full report to follow.

Berks, Bucks & Oxon North 2

Princes Risborough 81 - 17 Witney 4ths

"After the Lord Mayor's show" !

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