BANBURY Bulls secured maximum points from their short trip to Buckingham in South West 1 East.

The Oxfordshire side edged a hard-fought encounter 30-25 to head into the Christmas break breathing down the necks of leaders Old Centralians.

An early penalty gave Buckingham the lead, but it was the visitors who were the first to cross the try-line.

Quick hands from the backs followed a Banbury drive, with Alex Caviezel Cox diving over in the corner.

Another penalty made it 6-5 to the hosts, but Banbury retook the lead after profiting from an error from their opponents.

James Jennings reacted quickest to a knock-on, diving on the loose ball before releasing Jack Briggs, who sprinted over from close to the halfway line.

Ed Phillips added the extras to put his side 12-6 up.

Buckingham refused to lie down and scored a converted try of their own when they drove over from close range.

The visitors were not at their fluent best, but continued to push and Joe Mills soon scored their third try.

A slick move let Banbury in down the right flank and Caviezel Cox played in Mills, who touched down to continue his fine form.

Phillips kicked the conversion and added a penalty shortly after to make it 22-13 at half-time.

The away side secured the bonus point soon after the restart with another expertly crafted score.

Following slick hands from the back line, Justin Parker burst through the home defence for an unconverted try.

Banbury were now two converted scores clear, but any complacency was quickly shattered when the hosts took advantage of a quickly-taken penalty to cross, reducing the gap to nine points.

Phillips extended the lead with a penalty and it looked like the visitors would see the game out comfortably.

But Buckingham secured the losing bonus point when they touched down in extra time following a scrum, with the hosts adding a conversion.

Oxford Harlequins also head into Christmas on the back of a

closely-contested victory, triumphing 34-29 at home to Windsor.

The visitors’ spirited performance belied their lowly position in the table, as both sides came away with a bonus point.