Sunday, 19 January 2020

Bulls are hindered by yellow cards in cup exit

HENLEY BULLS crashed out of this season’s Oxfordshire Cup after losing away to last year’s champions Banbury last Saturday.

The Bulls, who were hampered by a few last minute changes, started the game on the back foot as their defence was tested by the home side.

There were some big tackles coming from Henry Penrose, Will Janes, Connor Morrison and young Morgan MacRae but a penalty in front of the posts gave Banbury the lead. This was followed by a try as a missed tackle in midfield allowed Banbury to score out wide to give them an 8-0 lead with 20 minutes played.

The Bulls then got their hands on the ball and were able to have some possession and started a 30-metre break from Liam Goodison after a high ball take from fullback Tom Durrant.

A quick tap penalty from the lively Elliot McPhunn saw him make a 20-metre break before feeding Charlie Wicks to pass out wide for George Probyn to go past the first defender before an offload found the impressive MacRae who stepped and sprinted his way over the line.

This gave the Bulls lots of confidence and they were making hard yards forward, making Banbury do all the tackling, Goodison, Janes, and Morrison all making good half breaks.

The turning point of the game came just after the half-hour mark when a quick tap penalty was taken in front of the posts rather than the points, a big tackle meant a spilt ball that was hacked down the field only for Adam Porter to rescue the situation and put the ball out of play.

Several phases later Banbury caught the Bulls out on the blind side to score their second try. This was quickly followed by another score on the stroke of half-time to give the hosts a 22-7 lead.

At the start of the second half the Bulls came out firing but were dealt a huge blow when a double yellow card saw them lose Penrose for an alleged strike and McPhunn for reacting to the decision. This put the Bulls in all sorts of problems and the two-man advantage took its toll on the visitors.

Banbury were on the front foot and scored three converted tries in the 10 minutes they had a two man advantage. The Bulls didn’t give up and played some of the best rugby of the afternoon.

The introduction of Ben Venner and Peter Kerins brought the Bulls back to life and they started to play some good rugby. Holes were appearing in the Banbury defence as Wicks took the ball to the line and stepped his way to score under the posts.

This was soon followed by a break down the wing by Venner, the ball was moved to middle of the park, before Angus Hilton, threw a dummy to score under the posts. Unfortunately this was too little too late for the visitors.

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