Thursday, 18 August 2022

Henley lose county cup final in clash of the bulls

HENLEY BULLS lost out to Banbury Bulls of Midlands 2 West in the Oxfordshire Cup final in

HENLEY BULLS lost out to Banbury Bulls of Midlands 2 West in the Oxfordshire Cup final in a match which was decided in the first quarter of the game.

During this period they conceded nine penalties and a yellow card which was given to lock Andrew Grant after 12 minutes.

During this period referee Phil Ware of the Oxford Referees Society awarded nine penalties to the North Oxfordshire club seeking to win the cup for the first time in 16 years. In contrast none were awarded against them during this period.

The Henley side had difficulty in understanding referee Ware’s interpretation of the laws of the game particularly in the ruck situation which resulted in them being literally blown away.

Many of these were awarded in front of the posts in Henley’s 22. This made them meat and drink for Banbury’s skipper and goal kicker Ed Phillips who slotted home three kicks in the first 12 minutes to give his side a 9-0 lead.

The Henley side, denied possession, defended well but in the absence of Grant they conceded a try when for the first time Banbury moved the ball wide for wing Josh Deegan to sprint down the right wing to touch down to put Banbury 16-0 ahead. Henley could not mount any pressure on Banbury so the game was largely played in their half. They fell further behind when from a line-out close to their line the North Oxfordshire side with a catch and drive were able to force flanker Josh Banister over the line for a try converted by Phillips to make it 23-0 at half-time.

The nature of the game changed from the start of the second half. Henley began to get the majority of possession and immediately started to put in effective handling and running which had not been a feature of the game in the first 40 minutes.

With a movement right to left and then across their backs to the right winger Martin Nutt was able to use the resultant space to touch down an unconverted try to make the score 23-5.

Henley began to move the ball through their hands at every opportunity but despite two significant breaks for their own 22 by fly-half Jack Bradford could not show the patience they had used in creating their earlier try. Scoring opportunities eluded them as they lost possession by wayward handling and passing. The dismissal of Jack Bradford with a yellow card after 60 minutes dampened their chances of turning the game in their favour when Jimmy Manley forced his way over for Banbury’s third try to make the score 28-5.

Henley Hawks: 15 Luke Govier, 14 Martin Nutt, 13 Louis Finn, 12 Toby Davies, 11 Andrew Bailey, 10 Jack Bradford, 9 Fred Taylor, 1 Harry Jackson, 2 Ed Church, 3 George Primett, 4 James Scaife, 5 Andrew Grant, 6 Charlie Nixon, 7 Scott White, 8 Tom Bartlett. Replacements: 16 Sam Beckett, 17 Cecil MacCarthy, 18 James Scott, 19 Jack Wiggins, 20 Tom Ross Lewis.

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