Tough day at the office marred by further injuries
Bulls leave themselves with too much to do after shaky first quarter
Market Bosworth ran out winners to break the Bulls’ unbeaten sequence after especially taking the game to St. Ives in the first quarter of the match.
With first XV debuts handed to new men Rick Peters
and Dave Carter
and with Joe Cox making his first start at full back following a late withdrawal, the reconstructed back line was led by the returning former skipper Jim Robinson
Bosworth were able to exploit some uncertainty in Ives defence from the off and ran the ball close to the visitors’ line. A turnover effected on the ground was deemed illegal and the home kicker, who had a fine day with the boot, slotted the penalty.
The Ives fought their way in to the hosts’ half with driving runs especially from Josh Dear
and the two Williams’ – Duncan and Chris (unrelated). Sadly for Ives, the ball went loose and Bosworth kicked long and raced back into the Ives half. Ives’ clearing kick was fielded by the nippy full back and after a series of phases scored their first try.
The Bulls were fortunate not to concede another try from the kick off when the receiver ran the ball straight through Ives’ wall. Keeping the ball alive, only a fine last-ditch tackle on the line forced a knock on, to the Bulls’ relief.
Ives were under siege however. Following a penalty to the corner, Bosworth worked the ball through the phases and scored wide out on the left.
The Bulls have not reached their achievements without spirit and determination over the last seasons. This was amply demonstrated by the reaction to being 17-0 down after 20 minutes. The runners both fore and aft were making holes in the Bosworth defence. Ball retention improved and Ives camped in the Bosworth half for ten minutes. With an overlap to defend, the home winger risked all successfully by shooting out and intercepting on his own 22. With support, the ball was taken the length of the field to score and stretch the lead to 24.
Staring down the barrel, Ives maintained their discipline and fought back. The control was good and this time the ball kept tight. Having pounded the home defence, Greg Dale was finally left with a gap on the line and dotted down for a deserved try, converted by Robinson.
Half time 24-7
Playing against the elements and slope in the second half, Ives were much improved. They quelled the attacking threats by defending with much greater urgency and strung many decent phases together. Bosworth began to infringe at the breakdown granting Ives opportunities for territory.
Ives won the ball well at the lineout through the efforts of the on-point Ollie Bartlett
, who had a fine game also in the loose, and the pinpoint throw of Tommy Newman
. The ball was whipped to Robinson who fed Alex Henly
who split the defence with a fine line to score. Once again converted by Robinson.
An unlucky patch followed for the Ives as in their continued determination to wrest control of the game, they forwent kicking to keep the ball to hand. Bradley Robinson
in only his second appearance, was one prominent in attempts to run from their own 22.
Unfortunately, from one phase Bosworth turned the ball over. Spinning it wide, Peters was deemed to have deliberately knocked the ball on whilst tackling his opposite number and was shown yellow.
Ives repelled that attack, but Bosworth eventually made the extra man count being judged to have scored in the right-hand corner, despite the home touch judge raising his flag.
The effectiveness of Ives defence was further hampered with hamstring tweaks to high tackle count Josh Meadows
and centre Carter. Bosworth took advantage with a further score whilst a man up.
Again, Ives spirit was in evidence as they attacked with vigour from the kick off. Playing with the patience usually expected, ball retention and continuity was again displayed as the penalty count against Bosworth climbed. From a lineout, Ives once more attacked, with the ball going through countless hands including a bullocking run by Dan Hyde
, before Dear was finally able to bulldoze over, converted by Robinson.
There then occurred a freak event to Stuart Cornwell
as his knee was twisted with studs stuck in the turf. All players wish him well in what looks like a nasty injury.
The Ives were still in search of a try bonus point and were attacking the Bosworth defence for the remainder of the game. Albiee Tayedzerwa was able to make ground, Cox was jinking through gaps to gain yards and the pack continued to drive their opponents back. The penalty count continued, but Bosworth were able to keep 15 men on the paddock. With the final play of the game, Ives got to within a metre of the home line, but a home player dived over as the ball emerged from a ruck to kill the move and the game ended.
The Ives squad was disappointed, but not disheartened. Skipper Bartlett commented, “We can be especially pleased with our second half performance, outscoring them against the slope. We left ourselves too much to do after not defending well in the first quarter, but we know we’ll bounce back in two weeks’ time against Market Bosworth.”