Wednesday, 17 August 2022

Bulls gain revenge

HENLEY BULLS managed to reverse their fortunes as they defeated Ampthill 1881 on a muddy pitch last Saturday.

HENLEY BULLS managed to reverse their fortunes as they defeated Ampthill 1881 on a muddy pitch last Saturday.

The visitors looked the more likely to emerge with the spoils based on their opening 20 minute salvo with waves of attack driving deeper into Bulls territory than were comfortable and placing much of the responsibility for their gains on their bullocking inside centre to steamroll his way upfield.

Much of his ambition was thwarted by some well organised defensive teamwork from centre pairing Toby Davies and Louis Flynn whose midfield remained unbreached.

Wing Ross Lewis and flanker Martin Nutt made headway into Ampthill’s half but were stopped by some equally determined cover tackles. Fullback Elliot Cox also showed his pace and tactical kicking ability that suited the slippery conditions early on.

The pressure of defending deep in their own 22 often rewards the attacking team even if a line-break is not made and this proved true as the Bulls overstepped the offside line and Ampthill were gifted the opening three points from a penalty.

Just before half-time the first of two key injuries occurred for the Bulls. Number eight James Scott suffered a head injury which ended his participation while 17-year-old Archie McGowan moved on to the flank and Scott White, whose individual contribution throughout the game was worthy of man-of-the-match, moved to the base of the scrum.

Within minutes Cecil MacCarthy, the loose-head prop, took a blow to his ribs and as Sam Beckett moved from lock to his more familiar front row role, winger Ross Lewis was rushed into duty as a makeshift flanker.

The Bulls’ only recognisable lock Charlie Nixon did well to secure some line-out possession but with a huge height advantage the Bulls opted to scrimmage when awarded the opportunity as the muddy conditions became a leveller and from the first scrum with their unfamiliar combination the Bulls created an opportunity for White to gather and drive low over the line for the only try of the game.

Ampthill restored their lead soon after the break forcing another disciplinary breakdown in the Bulls defence beneath their posts.

New Henley recruit wing Daley Ameru took the field along with Toby Davies at scrum half as Fred Taylor moved to the pack to add the few extra pounds he possesses and for the remaining 30 minutes of this tight encounter it was the Bulls who appeared to have an edge in the energy-sapping conditions.

With 20 minutes remaining Tom Bartlett added a fresh impetus to the Bulls attack arriving as a late replacement.

Eventually in a five minute period of Bulls pressure the visitors away two separate but similar offenses which fullback Elliot Cox calmly landed to restore the lead initially and then stretch away enough to take the spoils.

Henley Bulls: Cecil MacCarthy (Daley Ameru, 41 mins), Harry Jackson, James Hadfield, Charlie Nixon, Sam Beckett, Martin Nutt, Scott White, James Scott (Archie McGowan, 39 mins), Fred Taylor (Tom Bartlett, 60 mins), Jack Bradford, Si Perry, Toby Davies, Louis Flynn, Ross Lewis (Toby Howe, 41 mins), Elliot Cox.

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