Bletchley put in their strongest performance of the season on Saturday as they beat Bicester 30-18 at Manor Fields.
It took just four minutes for the home side to take the lead, with Phil Harman kicking them 3-0 up.
Bicester were soon level though, kicking a penalty of their own to make it 3-3 on eight minutes.
After spending the initial part of the game finding their feet on a sticky pitch, Bletchley began to get the ball moving through the hands and as they worked through the phases with efficiency, their efforts were rewarded with a penalty at the breakdown. Harman’s kick found touch 8m out from the try line. The Bletchley lineout has been going well over the last few games and this one was no exception. Brett Staniford found Dave Coleman with an accurate throw and the forwards soon got the maul going and over the try line. With 11 minutes on the clock, the hosts were 8-3 up with Kev Tunbull’s try.
Things got better seven minutes later with another penalty kick to touch just shy of the try line.
This time Bicester managed to prevent the maul from getting going so the ball was moved quickly out to the backs. Ben Robinson was on the end of line as the ball was passed through the hands to score out wide left. Bletchley were now 13–3 up and the game looked to be going their way.
Bicester began to work their way back into the game with some fine play of their own. Bletchley had to turn from attack into defence and they did so well. Jason Buckley and Dougie Webster worked in tandem to deny the visitors territory and they put in some hard hits. The pressure from Bicester eventually took its toll and soon they had a penalty kick to the posts to reduce the arrears to 13-6 with 22 minutes played.
The spectators were treated to some hard and fast rugby as both sides played well in spite of the terrible playing conditions. Bletchley broke the deadlock with yet another unstoppable driving maul from close range in the 34th minute to score their 3rd try of the afternoon. Tom Hannell on the score sheet as the home side took a 20–6 lead after Harman’s successful conversion.
Bicester had the last say of the first half as they were rewarded for their perseverance with a try in the 37th minute to give themselves a chance to get back into an entertaining match, taking the score to 20–13.
Bicester came out hard at the start of the second half and were only denied a try by an excellent covering tackle from full back Robinson. However, the visitors had their tails up and were determined to score. With four minutes of the second half played, they duly did so and took the score line to 20–18.
This spurred Bletchley on and they began to exert even more pressure on their opposition. The home side spent the next 10 minutes of play camped in Bicester’s 22 and were held up twice as they put Bicester’s defence to the test. Eventually the referee had no choice but to yellow card a Bicester player and Bletchley took advantage to score their bonus point try of the afternoon through Robinson.
With 18 minutes played, Bletchley were 25–18 up and edging towards a fine win.
Turnbull ensured the pace of the game remained high with some sniping runs and quick penalty taps to keep Bicester on their toes.
Bletchley scored their fifth try of the game with yet another penalty kick to touch and a lineout from 5m out. Bicester’s tiring defence could not hold the Bletchley pack back and Adam Fox extended Bletchley’s lead to 30–18 with only 16 minutes left to play.
With worsening conditions and tired legs, it was not surprising that the score line remained fixed at 30–18. Both sides had produced a good game for their supporters to watch and the match was well officiated, with the game allowed to flow.
It was a good win for Bletchley who are now safely placed mid-table in the league.