Friday, 12 August 2022

Bulls’ debutant Venner rounds off the scoring

HENLEY BULLS ran out winners in their pre-season fixture played out in hot temperatures

HENLEY BULLS ran out winners in their pre-season fixture played out in hot temperatures before the Hawks’ fixture with Pontypridd.

The heat was such a factor that the game was split into four quarters to allow additional water breaks.

From kick-off number eight Shek Sheriff gathered and carried the ball over the 22 where scrum half Jack Edwards fed his backs for the first time. New recruit at centre Andrew Bailey burst 30 metres up the left flank and loaded Matt Dickens whose pass found Cooke to score wide on the left. The conversion was missed.

Marlow scrummaged well for most of the game allowing them a platform for attack and frustrating the Bulls with longer periods of sustained possession and eventually the frustration told as Marlow were awarded a penalty which was successful from a challenging angle.

The second quarter was error strewn as the heat began to become a factor but with possession switching regularly from side to side from untidy passes. The quarter passed without a score.

As the second half began the Bulls lifted the tempo of play with scrum-half replacement 17-year-old Toby Venner seemingly asking questions of the Marlow defence and Connor Stapley and Seb Cecil beginning to dominate the line-outs. This provided plentiful possession for the Bulls to press towards the Marlow line and for Harry Jackson to pick from the base of a breakdown and spin out of contact to dab down under the posts. Lubbock added the extras. Marlow answered with a well worked try penetrating the Bulls’ defence as they scrambled but failed to reorganise quickly enough. The conversion brought the score to 12-10.

The replacements had a marked impact on the game for the Bulls from here on. Australian James Scott had a pleasing debut in a Henley shirt as his support paid dividends running over on the right flank to put the Bulls 17-10 up.

Centre Toby Davies had left the field early but returned soon after half-time with a head wound hastily repaired enough for him to take advantage of a break by Sam Richardson whose late contribution stood out. The score moved to 24-10 as Lubbock’s conversion was accurate.

Marlow were boosted in the set piece by former England lock Nick Kennedy and their share of possession increased forcing the tiring Bulls back into their own 22 where George Jafari scored a converted try.

During the final quarter the space opened up as both defences tired and replacements Tom Gardner, Charlie Davey and Sam Richardson all enjoyed effective line-breaks with fly-half Adam Lubbock becoming the beneficiary to score and convert his own try from another Richardson foray.

The afternoon was capped off with a debut try for scrum half Venner who took the ball from Richardson before scoring under the posts. Lubbock converted.

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