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Monday, 23 July 2018
A STRONG Tring pack took much of the credit for the accuracy and momentum that allowed the visitors to amass 17 points in each half and stamp out any threat that the young Bulls team could muster at Dry Leas last Saturday.
Tring took the reins from the opening minute, carrying hard into the Bulls territory and forcing the hosts on to the back foot deep in their own 22 and working hard to defend their line.
The Bulls held out well for 10 minutes under immense pressure until they infringed and gifted Tring a chance to open their account from centre field. The penalty attempt clipped the upright and the Bulls were slow to react to the loose ball, knocking on and from the resulting scrum Tring engineered their first try, finding a gap in the Bulls’ tight defence with several penetrative short rucks.
They soon added a second with a well organised driving maul from a line-out 10 metres out.
Will Janes, the Bulls centre, was given a 10 minute spell in the sin-bin for a miss-timed tackle and promising back row Will Day was forced to leave the action with a knee injury forcing a reshuffle in the Bulls back-row which added to their early woes.
The Bulls had opportunities to clear their lines and gain a foothold in the game but kicked poorly and enjoyed little territorial gain during the first half. Close to half-time the Tring back division added five further points to give them a 17-0 lead.
The second half looked like it might see a change around in fortune for the Bulls when they showed signs of a desire to fight their way back into the game.
Good aerial play from Janes put the Bulls deep into the Tring half and from a wide ruck on the left flank Mo Bangura picked a line that saw him crash over from 20 metres out shrugging off two tackles on his way to the line.
Archie Van Dijk and Luca Townshend both managed to make ground with elusive breaks but the Bulls failed to sustain any momentum as they were met full on by a Tring defence unwilling to submit.
Tring rallied and their pack again led much of the attack off-loading to tight support runners time and again making it difficult for the Bulls to meet the onslaught with enough resistance. Late on the Bulls suffered a second yellow card when Toby Howe was perceived to have made a tip-tackle and two tries from a driving maul and scrum meant any chance of a Bulls fightback diminished with the fading light.
Seventeen-year-old Henley Colt Ed Houghton joined the pack for his first outing with the Bulls and got his hands on the ball early to carry out of defence and release Sam Quelch who relieved the pressure for the 14 men until a well-worked try by the Tring backs on a counter-attack with support from inside and out on the left flank dampened the Bulls spirits further. Tring took the five points on offer.
Henley Bulls: Rowan Fuller, Matt Hodson, James Owen, Sam Middleton (Callum Large, 52 mins), Mo Bangura, Dan Folley, Scott White, Will Day (Paul Goodall, 32 mins; Ed Houghton, 65 mins), Toby Howe, Adam Lubbock, Sam Quelch, Luca Townshend, Will Janes, Ash Hayden, Archie Van Dijk. Replacements: Tom Gardner, Simon Matthews.
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