Sunday, 14 August 2022

Wimbledon pack too strong for Bulls side

WIMBLEDON 2nds continued to show their strength at home this season fielding a pack that will be difficult for any team to get the better of both in terms of size and strength.

The Bulls included a number of players returning from injury after lengthy lay-offs. Ian Stock was back at loose-head and Toby Howe at fullback and both successfully got through the 50 minutes allocated to them as part of their return to full fitness.

The Bulls felt the early wrath of the match official, giving away several penalties when they were gaining territory slowly but surely chiselling their way upfield against the wall-like defence of the Wimbledon side.

Punished with three points to begin with they then succumbed to the sheer weight of the Wimbledon pack as they went over from an attacking scrum which was a common theme in their attacking strategy throughout the afternoon.

On 23 minutes the hosts added a second converted try and heaped the pressure on a creaking Bulls pack who tried hard to send their back row runners in Rhys Courtney, Ed Allen and Nick Harris on direct lines and try to splinter a path through the Wimbledon wall but on a seemingly narrow pitch and with the size of their opposing pack and backs for that matter, space seemed to be minimal and kicking to former Hawk James Stephenson-Wright at fullback seemed counterproductive as their imposing back division carried back with interest.

It seemed there was little option for the Bulls but to continue grinding a path back into the game and exploiting the little space they were given as Iwan MacRae escaped to gain yards on a couple of occasions and Courtney burst free up the left flank on another whilst Harry Burn made the most of any chink left in the tight defence to wriggle his way free and upfield.

Burns was rewarded with a try at the base of a driving attack and soon after Nick Harris steered his way over from the tail of a maul putting the back in touch with 30 minutes to play at 20-17 as Wimbledon had added a further penalty.

Losing centre pairing Lubbock and Gardner with injuries destabilised the Bulls for a while but allowed Henry Day to return to his more familiar centre role from lock and he added a new style of attack. However, the Bulls fire was stamped out on every occasion by what seemed like a swarm of Wimbledon defenders.

Courage and commitment count for a lot but chances were few and far between for the Bulls other than a burst from Howe going close to the Wimbledon five metre line. The Bulls were starved of quality possession for the remainder of the game and Wimbledon used their enormous forwards to smother and kill off the Bulls with three late tries, all of which started from their domination of scrum possession and errors made by the Bulls who desperately sought out better field position.

The Bulls failed to add any further points and despite their dogged efforts.

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