Friday, 12 August 2022

Henley Bulls charge to a military double

HAVING put the RAF XV to the sword in October the Bulls achieved a remarkable double when they held out for a well-earned victory against the British Army A XV at Dry Leas on Tuesday evening

HAVING put the RAF XV to the sword in October the Bulls achieved a remarkable double when they held out for a well-earned victory against the British Army A XV at Dry Leas on Tuesday evening.

The last two months have seen the Bulls beaten several times in close encounters away from home in the Zoo Shield. However, the firming surface which suits their fast paced game saw them come out of the blocks with a tempo that forced the Army on to the back foot for the opening 10 minutes.

Although the Bulls enjoyed much of the first half possession it was the Army who opened the scoring latching on to a loose pass and creating a maul near the Bulls line from which they pressed over for the first score. The conversion was narrowly missed.

The ability of the Bulls pack to match and often get the better of the Army in the scrum gave them enough of a platform to launch their rapid back-line on several occasions penetrating deep into Army territory. It wasnâ??t long before they created a scoring chance to match the Armyâ??s opening salvo as Tom Hall steered a maul over the line to touch down. Adam Lubbock split the uprights with the conversion to put the Bulls 7-5 up.

The ferocity of the Army defence is always a feature of their game but on this occasion the Bulls matched it in stopping their back-line. The Bulls forced turn-overs putting pressure on the Army attack with prop Harry Jackson and Lubbock making defiant tackles and the scramble defence of the Bulls back three saving them when the Army did manage to burst through.

The Armyâ??s second try came as a result of a knock on in the midfield as the Bulls played out of defence. The advantage played by referee Kalvin Withers allowed the Army to get two passes to their wide attack who went around the stretched defence to score. This time the conversion was successful putting the Army back in the ascendancy.

As half-time approached the best move of the game came from the Bulls with clean line-out ball from Theo Vukasinovic, Spencer Goggin launched an attack with Lubbock spraying the ball through his midfield attack and sending paceman Matt Dickens into the corner for the Bulls second try. Lubbock missed with the conversion from the wide angle.

Matched at 12-12 at the break it turned into a game of brinksmanship with territory being key rather than possession as both teams defended with urgency and ferocity. Lock Sam Middleton was replaced by Shek Sheriff due to a back injury.

Pack-leader Vukasinovic did much to mastermind the second half approach for the hosts, choosing and executing the line-out well, and the Bulls front row began to get on top with Sam Beckett and Ed Church contributing in the loose considerably.

A charge by Tom Hall supported by Dave Wells and Will Woodward put the Bulls in scoring territory mid-way through the second half and a move out wide put Matt Killean on a run to the line only to be halted by an unorthodox tackle that ended his participation with a head injury.

Shortly afterwards the Army, expecting the Bulls to set a maul, stepped back on to their line and Vukasinovic collected and met with no opposition dabbed down unchallenged. Lubbockâ??s boot proved successful with the angled conversion and the Bulls led 19-12 with 13 minutes remaining.

The Army pressed for the equaliser with their lively scrum-half terrorising the Bulls defence but Church and Vukasinovic combined intelligently to ensure the set-piece was secured on each occasion and the back-line led by captain Simon Perry quelling any attack the Army launched. The Army did add three points from a short penalty but Perryâ??s men held firm at the final scrum enough for Goggin to kick the ball out of play with the score at 19-15.

Henley Bulls : Harry Jackson, Ed Church, Sam Beckett, Sam Middleton, Theo Vukasinovic, Tom Hall, Dave Wells, Will Woodward, Spencer Goggin, Adam Lubbock, Conor Corrigan, Simon Perry, Ben Mitchell, Matt Dickens, Matt Killean, Ross Lewis, Patrick George, Craig Johnston, Jack Broughton, Shek Sheriff, Charlie Chevasse.

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