Bulls stutter to victory
Late arrival leaves team a little flat, but with enough to overcome plucky BBOB
The advent of a new shopping centre on the A45 led to severe traffic delays for the team and travelling support. Arriving late, and with late changes to the squad, Ives were not in their usual mindset as the kick off approached.
The topsy turvy nature of the game kept the travelling support, for which the team was very grateful, on the edge of their seats until the final minutes. Public thanks also to Rob Olivier
, who dropped all family activity to complement the bench. He is owed a beer by Tom Watts who left the field and changed all the best laid plans.
Ives started well. Swift hands saw Albiee Tayedzerwa in space and he dotted down in the corner to open the scoring.
The journey had not been shaken off, however. BBOB were gaining success at the breakdown as Ives stood off the contact areas. Penalties were conceded as isolated players were caught in possession. From one such, BBOB kicked to the corner and worked the lineout maul well enough to equalise.
Ives were stung into action. A couple of great ruck clearances gave Mickey Drake
the ball in space. He chipped the onrushing defence, but the wicked bounce of the ball evaded both he and Pete Fahey. No matter as Tayedzerwa was following up and pounced to score his second, which was converted by Paul Ashbridge
, who added a successful penalty a few moments later.
Ives went into their shells for a period, allowing BBOB back into the match. Again a penalty was kicked to the corner. This time, the maul was stopped, but good continuity saw a converted try via the backs.
BBOB were struggling with injuries to their stand off and centre, but their tails were up and they camped in the visitors’ 22. Held up, they put in at the scrum, only for the Ives pack to drive them off the ball. Unfortunately, a miscommunication led to the ball being thrown dead. From the reset scrum, BBOB used a simple overlap to score.
As the half time whistle approached, Ives pressed again. Knowing their perpetual strength up front, they pressured the home defence at scrum time. One such close to the opposition line was driven back and Ollie Raine
scooped the ball up to score.
Half time 19-20.
Into the second half, the Ives attempted to stamp their authority on the game. A penalty kicked to the corner led to an opportunity. Unusually, the lineout malfunctioned and BBOB were able to clear their lines.
With only one point in the game, Ives patience was being tested and nervousness appeared to creep in to some of the decision making. Finally, Ives gained success when moving the ball well between forwards and backs. Ollie Jones
, making his 1st XV debut from the bench was the recipient of an overlap pass and dotted down. Ashbridge slotted a fine conversion from the touchline.
From the kick off, the ball found its way to Raine. Tucking into under one arm, he took matters into his own hands and, from just outside his own 22, set off on an arcing run upfield. He stepped the first defender, then pressed the accelerator and scorched passed the rest to score under the posts. A tremendous individual try, converted once more.
Shortly after, from another 5 metre scrum, Raine was denied his hat trick when the referee was unsighted and judged the ball to have been held up.
Ives went off the boil and BBOB began to sense a way back into the game. Catching the Bulls off guard, BBOB swung the ball wide and the winger was heading for the line. The covering Tom Watts found his clothes line and hooked the winger down. Many considered Ives fortunate that a penalty try was not awarded. Watts left the field for 10.
From the restart, BBOB went for the lineout. Ives stood off, hoping for something from the referee, but were undone when the ball was simply passed out and BBOB ran in untouched.
Down to 14, Ives were under the cosh. BBOB had secured the try bonus point and now wanted more. At this point, the spirit of the Bulls resurfaced. Good defence for the last 15 minutes kept BBOB at bay. Indeed, it was Ives on the attack as the final whistle went.
Onlooking skipper Ollie Bartlett, side-lined by injury, was rueful after the game. “We seemed to make hard work of that. The traffic problems before the game clearly didn’t help, but we never seemed to get going. So to come away with a 5-pointer and feel we can do a lot better is a good result.”