BANBURY overcame their final jinx and dogged Chinnor resistance to lift the Morrells Oxfordshire Cup at Iffley Road last night.

Having lost six of their previous finals - including their shock defeat by Bicester last year - the Midlands Division 1 club must have feared the worst when they failed to get out of their half in the first 15 minutes.

But their solidity, organisation and self-belief eventually saw them home to an unspectacular 13-0 triumph.

The only highlight of an error-strewn, shapeless match, in front of a crowd of about 1,200 was a sparkling try by winger Ben Powis in the second half.

Underdogs Chinnor made it very hard for their rivals, especially in the front row when Simon Matthews, Richard John and Gary Woodburn held the upper hand all night.

John won the strikes against the head 3-1, including one when Chinnor were under pressure on their own line.

It also took time for Banbury's Rich-ard Mackie to quell the threat of Gary Porter in the line-out.

Chinnor started fiercely but, as is their wont, they eschewed two early penalty goal attempts to force line-outs close to the Banbury line.

While this tactic might work against South West Division 2 opponents, Banbury were made of sterner stuff - and what Chinnor was needed points on the board, which never looked like coming from their ineffective backline.

When they didn't gain any reward from that early dominance, the writing was on the wall.

Banbury fly half Neil Chapman, an infuential presence, landed two of his three penalty attempts at goal to give Banbury a 6-0 advantage.

On such a wide pitch, it was strange that neither side made better use of their speedy right wings. When they did so, to devastating effect in the 57th minute, Banbury sealed the result.

South African lock Warren Ansell cut through the middle of the Chinnor defence and centre David Evans put Powis into plenty of space.

The former Coventry winger cut in and used his devastating pace to score under the posts for Chapman to add a simple conversion.

Chinnor never gave up tackling hard to the last, but their attempts to run the ball failed due to handling errors as Banbury gave them precious little room.

So to the delight of their fans, Banbury's skipper Chapman stepped up to receive the cup, while their full back Guy Stanton accepted the Ron Grimshaw Memorial Trophy as man of the match from Oxford Mail sports editor Stuart Earp, for some telling contributions in the backline.

The consolation for Chinnor is that both they and Banbury will play in the Tetley Bitter Cup next season.

Banbury: Stanton, Powis, Evans, Cartwright, Mitchelmore, Chapman (capt), Johnson, Cummings (Lee 47), Ewins (Fossey 80), Macareavey, Ansell, Mackie, Styles, Callaway, Thurlow (Cockerton 58).

Chinnor: Brooks, Jones, Wright, Bailey, Sellars (Cawston 73), Jobson, Vaughan (capt), Matthews, John, Woodburn, Millburn, (M Cooke 55), Porter, Fincken (Cook 55), Tinegate, Brown.

Referee: A Rees (Somerset).

Converted for the new archive on 30 June 2000. Some images and formatting may have been lost in the conversion.