BANBURY Bulls missed out on a place in Midlands 1 after being edged out 18-13 at Crewe & Nantwich.

Bulls battled throughout and twice held Crewe up early on.

Crewe took the lead with a penalty from fly half Jamie Little before wing Tim Cowap went over in the corner.

Midway through the half, Crewe increased their advantage when flanker Josh Collins crashed over for Little to convert.

Banbury rallied with wing Josh Deegan going close before skipper Eddie Phillips slotted a penalty.

After the break, No 8 Simon Brand opened up the home defence and Phillips sniped over, converting his own try.

A second Phillips penalty made it 15-13, but Little replied in kind and Crewe held on.

Banbury can now look forward to facing Oxford Harlequins in the county cup final on Wednesday, May 7.