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Thursday, 22 February 2018
A YOUNG Bulls side lost out at home to a Blues side that are unbeaten since Christmas and currently stand third in Division 1 of the Zoo Shield.
Early intensity and quick tempo play from the Bulls caught the Blues by surprise in the first 20 minutes of their last home match of the season.
The Bulls fielded the youngest front row in their history with 19-year-old Jamie Cox pivotal in the hooker roll and Elliot Wigmore and Lou Morgan both 18 years old at prop held firm against a much more experienced opposition.
Dave Hankinson returned for his first outing since early January and his quality along with the experienced Martin Nutt was evident despite spending much of the encounter defending.
The Bulls’ only scores came in a first half where they stayed in touch with the Blues, opening the scoring in a vibrant opening 20 minutes as Nutt broke the Blues’ line supported by Hankinson at a cutting angle who then slipped a skillful back-handed off-load to the lively Huelin to dart under the posts. Both sides swapped penalty points up to the 30 minute mark when the Blues went up a gear with two scores to take the lead back. The Bulls did well to secure a decent percentage of their set piece ball through Charlie Davey and George Lane in the line-out but couldn’t replicate the continuity and quick ball they produced for the first 20 minutes due to the Blues’ work rate in covering the space they had created.
Just before the break Hankinson was on hand again to spot an opportunity to intercept whilst the Blues were in full flow and sprint clear to add the Bulls’ second.
Throughout the second half the Blues turned the screw and used their experience and superior conditioning to good effect, despite the fine efforts of George Lane at number eight to stop the onslaught with an impressive tackle count and counter-rucking and Jamie Cox cleaning up the scruffy exchanges to clear the Bulls lines and regain territory. The Bulls’ best efforts fell short and the closing 20 minutes proved a painful experience with four tries against to give the impression of a one-sided encounter when the first half was nothing short of toe to toe attrition.
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