Bulls blast Daventry’s unbeaten home record apart
Bartlett leads the way again with superb hat trick
Having recorded their heaviest loss of the season at the Chicken Shack in December, Daventry were determined to protect their home record in which they had defeated all-comers. Matters started well for them when they were awarded a penalty in front, but the attempt struck the upright and Ives were reprieved.
Unusually lacklustre defence by the visitors allowed Daventry plenty of front-foot ball. As the first quarter was ebbing away, another more successful penalty strike saw them take the lead, followed swiftly by a try in the right hand corner as a break was made in midfield.
As had been the case the previous week, Ives found themselves ten points down with adjustments needed. They came in the form of a superb team try. A patient build up saw the ball swept from touch line to touch until Ollie Bartlett
took a great line and surged through a gap to score.
A mention for Max Flint
who then took the field to make his first XV debut from the bench as Ben Fleming
suffered his weekly nose bleed which required attention. Flint acquitted himself well.
In what became the pattern for the rest of the match, there appeared to be an end-of-term basketball feel to the game. The play went end to end as first Daventry scored after taking a quick tap, and then the Bulls responded with more excellent continuity putting Mickey Drake
into space to score. Paul Ashbridge
duly converted to leave the score 13-12 to the hosts at half time.
There then followed an absolute blitz as Ives tore the Daventry defence to shreds for twenty minutes.
A lovely loop executed between Drake and Ashbridge saw Jack Blackley
free on the right. Downed close to the line, he retained possession, the ball was swept left and once again a sharp line from Bartlett saw him untouched as he raced in.
A dummy loop followed, with Ashbridge charging through the defence and nearly reaching the try line. The indefatigable Bartlett was on his shoulder to take the scoring pass and complete his second successive hat trick.
Much improved defence saw Ives piling on the pressure. Daventry spilled the ball and from the resultant scrum, Drake darted through a gap. Patient phases eventually saw Josh Meadows
receive the ball with nobody to beat.
The Bulls were on the charge. Another good build up eventually saw Ollie Raine
dummy to the awaiting overlap, before strolling through the gap created to score.
Soon after the kick off, Bartlett took a good pass from veteran Ross Thompson
and sprinted half the length of the field before drawing the last man and releasing John Naylor
At this point, having been completely dominant, the Ives relaxed too much. Daventry now playing for pride took the opportunity to score a couple of long distance tries as the Bulls fell off a couple of tackles.
Irritated by the blot on their performance, Ives struck back. Multiple phase play took them to within a few metres of the line and Naylor took the opportunity to add his second.
Again, Ives relaxed and conceded ground. A line out maul took Daventry to the line and ultimately a score.
That was to be it for the hosts. Pressing for more consolation scores they were to be sorely tested as first Drake from half way and then Ashbridge from deep in his own 22 intercepted hopeful passes and hammered two more nails into the Daventry coffin on the day.
Ashbridge converted six of the eight second half tries.
Onlooking coach Brown was slightly bemused after the game. “We always know what we are going to get from Daventry as they attempt to put us off our game physically. So it was very pleasing to see the way we kept our discipline and especially the third quarter rout. We somehow allowed them their consolation scores playing as if it was sevens. But again, the pressure we re-applied defensively gave us well taken scoring opportunities to wrap up a really well deserved victory.”