Brave Bulls push league leaders all the way
OEs' young Bulls side produced their finest performance of the season but it wasn’t quite enough to cause an upset against in-form and unbeaten Charlton Park.
Charlton Park 43 OEs Bulls 33
With an average age of just 20, it was one of the youngest third teams the club has ever fielded against an experienced Charlton Park 2nd XV. But Tom Sutton’s young side performed superbly throughout despite being heavily out-gunned up front.
Indeed, OEs stunned the home side with two tries in the opening eight minutes after Charlton Park had stormed out of the blocks from the opening whistle.
From a scrum five metres from their own line, the OEs pack held firm with Jack Saunders controlling the ball well at the base before feeding Ciaran Lindsay who raced the length of the field to score under the posts, Frank Kibble converting.
Before the home side had time to regroup, Lindsay struck again against a few minutes later. The flying centre set off from deep inside his own half again and cut through the Park defence to score under the posts.
Behind 14-0, Charlton Park came storming back in a fast and furious opening quarter with two tries of their own to reduce the deficit to two points.
The Bulls were forced to soak up plenty of pressure with some superb tackling and competed well in a hard-fought opening 40 minutes. They were also quick to take their chances when they presented themselves and by half-time they were leading 26-24 after two further tries from winger Jack Nagel and scrum-half Andy Lewis.
However, after the interval, Charlton Park showed just why they boast a 100 per cent record in Kent Premier West this season. Monopolising possession and territory they began to wear down the brave Bulls resistance with their big strike runners making in-roads.
Twice they were held up over the Bulls try-line by some fantastic last ditch defence as their forwards began to take a firm stranglehold on the game. The pressure had to tell and Park moved into a commanding lead with three well constructed tries.
To their credit, however, the young Bulls refused to buckle, putting their bodies on the line to the end. And they were rewarded for their efforts when the impressive Lindsay completed his hat-trick four minutes from time to take his side to within 10 points of the home side.