TWO tries from centre James Heywood were not enough as Banbury Bulls lost 26-20 at new leaders Spartans (Midlands).

President Steve Mascall was drafted in to tackle Bulls’ front-row crisis and the side battled well.

Banbury lost centre Carl Daniels to a facial injury, but took the lead when Jed Boyle pounced on a loose ball to score.

Spartans hit back with a pushover try, converted from the touchline.

Heywood’s first, from Alex Fogavini’s pass, plus Eddie Phillips’s conversion and penalty made it 15-7 before Spartans drove over for a converted try.

Banbury flanker Sam Mills was yellow-carded after the break and Spartans scored a second pushover try.

Heywood’s second, after Josh Deegan’s long run out of defence, made it 20-19, but a converted try sealed it for Spartans.