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Monday, 19 February 2018
HENLEY BULLS lost out to Esher Cardinals in their first clash of the season. The Cardinals’ mighty pack with two driving mauls at either end of the game proved decisive moments that gave Esher the edge at set piece.
The Cardinals’ pack dominated the scrum from start to end in the rematch and succeeded in driving the lighter Bulls eight over their own line for a first half try that proved their consolation.
For a second week running the Bulls’ defensive effort shut down the Cardinals’ back division almost every time they tried to break out of defence or break through in attack and the accuracy of the hosts’ line-out ensured enough possession to launch some devastating attacks when the opportunity was presented.
The Bulls back row of Liam Trinder, George Lane and Jimmy Wright seemed to swarm over the Cardinals as they attempted to carry around the fringes and seized on any loose ball caused by the pressure of the Bulls defence.
A clearing of the thick mist seemed to coincide with the Bulls onslaught as in-form back row forward Jimmy Wright scythed his way through the Cardinals defence from 20 metres to add to his impressive tally over recent weeks.
The Bulls’ forwards, led by Rowan Fuller, showed their potential as Ross Gilbert leapt to collect the line-out and on landing delivered the ball through the maul to the originator Charlie Sichel who steered the maul over for the Bulls second.
Former Hawks player Martin Nutt, who contributed a brace of tries against Worthing recently, did so again with his hard running style as he blasted his way to the line for two more tries.
Harry Burn’s tenacious work-rate at scrum-half ensured Toby Howe and latterly Sam Quelch had ample possession to load the Bulls’ back division of Dave Hankinson, Louis Flynn and Nick Arnell on the left flank with the ammunition they required. Hankinson made several line-breaks and Flynn’s hunger to break out of defensive positions was evident and paid off on two more occasions as Flynn himself and skipper Govier managed to breach the Cardinals defence for a try a piece. Nutt’s second try saw the game out comfortably and Govier landed his fifth out of six conversions to enhance their points difference. The Bulls have risen from the foot of the Zoo Shield Division 1 table up to fifth place over the last two months with six wins and a draw in eight games.
The Bulls next take the field at the Regatta Meadow on January 7 when they entertain Blackheath.
Henley Bulls: Rowan Fuller, Charlie Sichel, Callum Large (Jamie Hillman, 75 mins), Lou Morgan, Ross Gilbert, Liam Trinder, Jimmy Wright, George Lane (Jack Broughton, 58 mins), Harry Burn, Toby Howe (Sam Quelch, 60 mins), Nick Arnell, Dave Hankinson, Louis Flynn, Martin Nutt, Luke Govier.
16 January 2017
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