Bulls back to earth with a bump. And bruises.
Ives burnt by scorching Biggleswade
Having enjoyed two romps in the previous weeks, Ives were well grounded by a highly motivated Biggleswade side. The visitors showed speed of foot and thought throughout the game in contrast to the home side which often seemed to wilt under the strong sunshine.
The pattern was set in the first few minutes of the game. A scrappy lineout by the Bulls led to Biggleswade possession and pressure on the hosts’ line. A number of clearing kicks went straight downfield and as they would do all game the visiting back 3 enjoyed the firm underfoot conditions to sprint back at the Ives.
A penalty was kicked to the corner and good line out won and the visitors scored their first try.
The Ives were struggling to impose their game plan on the visitors whose centres played the tackle line very well and put pressure on the Bulls’ second receivers across the line. Ives could not break into their opponents 22.
The visitors were exerting a lot of pressure both with ball in hand and some searching kicks. Full back Will Nelson
was up to the task and returned much ball as well as making some critical last line of defence tackles.
Biggleswade wrested back possession and, spreading the ball wide, scored in the corner. During the move Max Dominy
tweaked something when wrong footed and retired from the fray, replaced by Greg Dale.
This finally sparked a response from the Bulls. Albiee Tayedzerwa made a strong break from deep in his own half, reaching his opponents’ 10-metre line. Good support saw Josh Meadows
break free. He stepped the full back to score under the posts, duly converted by Paul Ashbridge
With halftime beckoning, Ives conceded a penalty from the restart, which the visiting 10 converted.
With the half time score 7-13 and now playing with the slope, Ives expected better things in the second half. Whilst they made their own scores, some good handling by Biggleswade put the game beyond them.
A kick over by the Ives was returned with vim by Biggleswade. Good, simple drawing and passing left the winger to go over in the corner. Another tweak saw David Sharp
leave the field for Tom Margetts
Again, Ives were prompted to react. A kickable penalty was put into the corner. The decision was rewarded when good lineout possession was shipped to Ashbridge who darted through to score.
Biggleswade responded with another sweeping move. Driving through the forwards this time, they managed to dot the ball down on the line.
Almost immediately, Ives had another penalty opportunity. Sensing a repeat of the previous effort, the kick went into the corner. Unfortunately the lineout did not work as well and Biggleswade regained possession. Using their outside pace, they once again breached the tackle line and swept upfield to put the pressure back on the hosts. Also choosing to kick a penalty to the corner, a neat midfield wrap around from the lineout left a two on one which was easily completed. The kicker finally found his converting boots on this occasion.
took a heavy knock during the play and was replaced by Cullan Smy
With the game slipping away, Ives found some good rugby from somewhere. From a lineout, Ashbridge fed the looping Tayedzerwa who jinked his way between the opposition three quarters and scorched to the line for a well worked try.
From the kick off, Ives charged downfield again. Ashbridge attacked the back pedalling defence and skipped past two defenders and the full back to score a fine individual try which he converted.
Now seeking field position for a potentially winning score, Ives once again put boot to ball. Once again the Biggleswade back three responded well, spreading the ball wide and setting up the final try which took the losing bonus point for St. Ives out of reach.
Ives were left to reflect on a disjointed performance against a side which had successfully thrown caution to what little wind there was. Fortunately, results elsewhere mean that they still have third place and can cement that if they put this match well behind them and return to winning ways in the last match of the season, away at Daventry.