ESHER CARDINALS’ set piece dominance provided the platform for them to punish the home side who
ESHER CARDINALS’ set piece dominance provided the platform for them to punish the home side who took to the field with nine changes last Saturday.
In difficult heavy playing conditions the Cardinals used their bulky locks and number eight to better effect during the phases of possession that they created although the game was peppered with errors from both sides due to the slippery handling conditions.
The first 30 minutes was fairly evenly contested with Roddy Giles exchanging penalties before Esher scored the first of six tries that saw them return to London with five valuable Zoo Shield points.
The Cardinals secured almost 100 per cent of their set-piece possession presented to them by the Bulls who found it difficult to thread passages of play together before making an error to disrupt their own momentum. Opening tries on either flank from well-constructed phase-play too Esher into a 17-3 half-time lead.
The second half continued in similar fashion with Esher looking the more confident to move the ball effectively and exploiting the cracks that appeared in the Bulls defence, which was tiring having defended much more than the Cardinals who continued to use their bulky runners to good effect.
The pattern of the day’s game was summed up late on as a brave attempt to move the ball wide to the Bulls’ wing was intercepted on the half way and the Cardinals ran in their bonus try unchallenged.
The return to play of Xavier Andre and Tom Steindler, both following lengthy injury lay-off was one small but positive outcome on a disappointing day for the Bulls.
Henley Bulls: Henry Sandys, Curtis Langdon, Sam Beckett, Andrew Unsworth, Alex Collis, Dave Wells, Tom Steindler, Tom Haynes, Fred Taylor, Roddy Giles, Ross Lewis, Andrew Bailey, Louis Flynn, Joel Thomas, Stu Pearham. Replacements: Cecil MacCarthy, James Scott, Toby Howe, Xavier Andre.