HENLEY BULLS ran out narrow winners away to Old Albanians 2nds in their opening Zoo Sports Shield Division 1 clash on Saturday.
The hosts’ lively centre pairing tested the Bulls’ defensive system which held firm and forced them to spill the ball in a threatening position early on. Will Woodward attempted to carry the ball clear but was adjudged to have held on too long at the next ruck only for the hosts to squander the three points.
Having gained possession the Bulls pack began to hammer their way into Old Albanians territory and spotting an overlap fly-half Guy Swadling dropped a weighted kick into the hands of wing Rory Lillington who furnished scrum-half Mark Bruce to feed Swadling again. This time he floated a flat pass over the rushing defence and into the hands of Conor Corrigan who beat the wide defence for pace to open the scoring on his left flank. Swadling landed the conversion from a tight angle.
Soon after Shek Sheriff won a key line-out and a slick driving maul saw Woodward touch down for an unconverted try to put the Bulls 12-0 up.
Swadling was growing in confidence with his tactical kicking paying dividends and keeping Old Albanians pinned back. Jake O’Leary and Steindler drove to within five metres where Bruce used the quality possession to put Swadling in a position to sidestep his way under the posts and converted his own score to extend the Bulls’ advantage to 19-0 at the break.