Saturday, 31 October 2020

Bulls lose out on their travels

HENLEY BULLS lost out in a game of two halves in their Zoo League clash at Maidenhead on a windy wet Saturday afternoon.

The Bulls kicked off playing with the strong wind behind them. Matthew Mann, playing in the unusual position of flanker in his first game back after a long knee injury, was leading the charge with good offensive tackling.

Maidenhead were playing the conditions well, and the Bulls were defending for multiple phases. The Bulls through Elliot Deacon, Andrew Stobbs and George Probyn had the upper hand in the scrum, but then would lose ball as they tried to move the ball to space.

The first break of the game was made by Guy Rawsthorn who coasted around the outside of his man only to be caught by the covering defence. This was the only real attack the Bulls had in the first half.

The first score of the game came after 20 minutes with Maidenhead working their way up towards the Bulls’ 10-metre line before making the break, only for some heroic scramble defence to keep them out before the pressure told.

The Bulls lost Mann after return to play protocol of only allowing him to play 20 minutes as the visitors played out the remainder of the game with 14 players.

The second part of the first half was all played in the Bulls half. Maidenhead kept the ball but allowed the opportunity for the Bulls back row of Tom Grenfell and Charlie Dominy to get over the ball and turn it over. Maidenhead kept coming back and just before half-time the hosts went 12-0 in front.

The second half didn’t start too well for the Bulls, conceding an early kickable penalty and then a try after losing the line-out. From then on it was all Bulls pressure. Scrum half Ross Lewis picked up the pace of the game to bring the forwards and centres into the game.

Probyn, Isa Mohammed and Murray Bellis all made gain line success to take the Bulls to within a few metres of the line. Lewis passed out wide for Pete Kerins to attempt to dive over in the corner but a foot in touch cost the try.

The Bulls kept coming back and going through the phases. Soon the pressure told as the powerful Probyn cashed over. The Bulls came straight back through a 20-metre break from Tom Durrant to take play to the 22-metre line. They kept battering at the Maidenhead line, but defence stayed strong and they were able to keep clearing their lines.

A big clearing kick put the Bulls back deep in their half before a mix-up which looked like a knock down allowed Maidenhead to score in the final play of the game.

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