Friday, 12 August 2022

Henley Bulls’ risky approach pays off against Cinderford

HENLEY BULLS maintained their unbeaten home form at Dry Leas on Saturday.

HENLEY BULLS maintained their unbeaten home form at Dry Leas on Saturday.

The hosts did this by beating a larger Cinderford pack with a determination to keep the ball in play and move their heavier opponents around the field until their defiant defence showed enough of a chink for them to exploit.

Cinderford shared territorial gains throughout the game with the Bulls defending their own 22 metre area with tenacity and on occasion good fortune as both sides lacked accuracy during the first half.

George Strang and Jack Antoniou made try-saving tackles as Cinderford breached the Bulls’ defence early in the half.

The sides were separated by two penalties from Bulls fly-half Guy Swadling at the break after Simon Perry and Chris Emmett had significant scoring chances which were both scuppered by an inaccurate final pass as Cinderford scrambled back. A third scoring opportunity was squeezed over the dead-ball line as the Bulls threatened an opening touchdown.

The Cinderford pack caused problems for the Bulls at the scrum but captain James Bloxham used his strength and guile to give scrum-half Micky Molloy enough space to feed the hard running backs. Rory Lillington beat the defence on several occasions and Jordan Ethelston, who stood out as the biggest threat from the Bulls, began to put more attacking shape on the Bulls’ game.

All five tries came in the second half with Cinderford scoring twice from tight positions around the ruck area but the more attractive rugby came from the Bulls who stretched their 6-0 half-time lead with a try for Chris Emmett who worked hard throughout the game to support the breaking runs.

Emmett was repaid for his effort when he picked a pass off his toes to dive over between the posts after Molloy had made a sniping break. Cinderford broke their duck with their first try just after Emmett’s success.

Bloxham scored a short time after with a marauding run from 25 metres shaking off two lunging tackles to score on the same spot.

Jordan Ethelston secured the points with a score for the Bulls outstripping his opposite number and side-stepped showing the Cinderford defence a clean pair of heels.

Swadling converted two of the three tries as he shared 10 minutes in the sin-bin with his opposite number, both adjudged to have made deliberate knock-ons when their line was under threat. Cinderford added to their tally with five minutes left to play with a copy of their first try but both their scores went unconverted.

Henley Bulls: George Hayes, Rowan Fuller, Matt Weller, Tom McGregor, Connor Stapley (Sam Middleton, 57 mins), Tom Huggins, Chris Emmett, James Bloxham, Micky Molloy, Guy Swadling, Si Perry, Rory Lillington, Jordan Ethelston, Jack Antoniou, George Strang.

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