Tuesday, 31 March 2020

Payne wraps up scoring to sink county rivals

THE recent period of wet weather has caused havoc with matches being continuously postponed so it was a relief for the Henley Vultures to play their first game in the annual Oxfordshire Vets’ Cup last week, having previously postponed their first scheduled game against Wallingford Vets.

Playing under Henley’s floodlights, the Vultures started well with a determined display of both running the ball and passing.

Henley found themselves penalised early on for not releasing the ball, giving Banbury the opportunity to counter with their own display of moving fast ball. After winning back possession, Henley spilled the ball in passing, giving Banbury the first chance to score with a converted try.

Not to be outdone, Henley responded with a fine passage of play and a break by Will Spriggs, covering much of the pitch saw an offload to Nick Dudding who got over the line to score in the left corner. The conversion attempt by Peter Kerins clipped the post but went backwards bringing, the score to 7-5 in Banbury’s favour. The Vultures were energised by this narrowing of the score line with the ever-charging Matt Payne leading the pack and some forceful play by Simon Matthews presenting the Vultures’ backs with several opportunities for scoring.

It was the sprightly Spriggs again who scored for himself this time, benefiting from a penalty in Henley’s favour, who penetrated the Banbury defence and took Henley into the lead at 10-7.

Henley’s line-outs had worked well all evening and with Adrian Smith back in the squad, seizing the ball confidently in the air, he was rewarded with his own try leaving Banbury trailing at 15-7.

Banbury’s defence remained constant and this prevented Henley from making more of the high percentage of ball in their hands. The Henley pack finally pushed over the line after a series of several phases with Payne taking the credit for Henley’s final try of the evening.

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