A HEAVILY depleted Bulls squad travelled to South West London on Saturday and despite showing a
A HEAVILY depleted Bulls squad travelled to South West London on Saturday and despite showing a determination to break down the Cardinals’ well organised defensive structure they failed to contain the physicality and mobility of their opponents.
The opening 20 minutes was the best period of the game for the Bulls who managed to play their only sustained period of possession with Hugo Milford-Scott and young centre Charlie Stacey providing good play going forward and leaked only three points to a penalty. Within the next five minutes veteran front row forwards James Hadfield and Rowan Fuller were lost to injury as a result of the power coming through the Esher pack at the scrimmage and were replaced by Craig Dawson and 48-year-old Jim Hillman.
At this point the Cardinals scored the first of their two first-half tries as the Bulls scrambled hard to contain the off-loading game the Cardinals adopted, taking full advantage of the difference in pace between the two sides.
The first half ended 17-3 with Luke Govier providing the Bulls’ meagre three points having spent the bulk of the half under heavy onslaught. Bulls wing Dyneal Fessal looked to possess the best option for the visitors to make ground as he carried hard on several occasions to relieve the pressure. However, despite putting several phases together the Bulls lacked the familiarity to sustain any pressure and several handling errors ensured that Esher’s defence were not fully tested as the visitors’ attack was often halted by their lack of accuracy.
Losing lock Guy Wilson with a shoulder dislocation half way through the second half was a further blow as the Cardinals scored a further five tries although the Bulls defended valiantly at times for phase after phase with Martin Nutt and George Primett forcing the hosts to choose alternative routes to the try-line with some good tackling and counter-rucking.
The Bulls ended the game with just 14 players following the forced withdrawal of James Scott who had been the main source of Bulls possession at the line-out.