Bulls blow Bosworth away
By Phil Brown
Excellent first half lays foundation for second half romp
It has yet to be determined whether the snapping of one of the new sponsored flag poles was caused by a player or the scything wind, but suspicion is the latter such was the power of the gale.
Playing against the elements in the first half, Ives managed the game superbly. With ball in hand, the Ives continuity was in evidence between forwards and backs as Mickey Drake smoothly pulled the strings at fly half. The only kicks were conversions (bar one by a player who received the appropriate award for another misdemeanour later).
With only 5 minutes on the clock, Duncan Williams
blasted through the Bosworth midfield. Supporting players kept the move going until Paul Ashbridge
espied a gap and strolled through it to open the scoring. Despite finishing on his back, Ashbridge’s conversion attempt sneaked over the bar.
Powerful running by the big ball carriers up front including the apparently jaded Josh Dear
, tommy newman
, Matt Wood
and Martin Baldwin
was causing the visiting defence problems. With the ball moved wider, Ashbridge breached the tackle line and galloped upfield. A draw and give to the supporting John Naylor
saw the second score.
Bosworth were suffering and, unfortunately travelling with only one sub, were down to the bare bones as the scrum half departed the field with an ankle knock. The full back stepped up and had a fine game at nine, causing problems for the hosts in the loose.
Ives applied pressure once more. This time it was an incisive break by Alex Henly
that got the Bulls close to the line. A couple of attempts were held up short, but Naylor bagged his second from about 1 metre.
Continuing to play with ambition, Ives ran from deep and nearly scored a couple more. Drake released Ben Fleming
on a fine run. Raine got to the line but was penalised for his attempted hand off (the less said, the better).
In an innocuous looking tackle, Baldwin was left prone as he knee was awkwardly twisted. It was an A&E job and we all wish him well for a speedy recovery.
Ives were throwing the ball around with relish, but the wind made the style risky. One pass too many ballooned away from the receiving player and was grubbered through by the Bosworth centre. He beat the ball to the dead-ball line to score a converted try.
Attempting to gain territory, Bosworth kicked long. Pete Fahey, playing well at full back, fielded the ball and released Greg Dale to sprint up the touch line. The cover defence got him, but fine ball presentation meant the move continued. The ball went through many hands before Chris Williams was able to round the defence and score under the posts for the bonus point try.
There was just time left in the half for the visiting Nr. 8 to be yellow carded for foul play.
Half time 28-7
The Bulls took immediate advantage of the extra man. Josh Meadows fielded a kick over and set up good field position with his run. The ball was whipped across the park and back, until Ollie Raine
was put clear to score.
A smart kick by Naylor saw Ives to within 5 metres of the opposition line. Ives then stole the lineout and a finely set maul was driven over the line for Duncan Williams
With game done, Ives were able to experiment with formations. Andrew Hutchison
joined the fray for his first match following serious injury. His energy added the term “raging” to the Bull badge that each of the players represents. Wood was able to move back a row to No.8, a position he has not occupied for some seasons.
The changes naturally disrupted the flow for a while and Bosworth showed their spirit with some good attacks. It took scrambled Ives defence to keep them out on more than one occasion.
Try service was resumed when Duncan Williams
was the recipient of the ball in open play. He took route one and bashed his way to the line for his second.
Ives shuffled the cards again to test two flankers in the centres as Jack Hickman
joined the party. Again, Bosworth fought back and made inroads into the Ives territory. Again, they were repelled.
With less than ten minutes left, the stand in Bosworth scrum half left the field with a suspected fracture to his wrist. All hope for the best for him. With no subs remaining, the visitors were once more a man down.
The Bulls took full advantage and ran in three further tries. First, tight ball control drove the opposition back. Finally, Hutchison found himself in space and crashed over.
Chris Williams dancing feet took him past the onrushing defence. He skipped downfield, releasing Raine for his second.
Ives tenth try was scored when Naylor took a quick tap and ran down the touchline. Great supporting play mean that the indefatigable skipper Ollie Bartlett
was the man to score under the posts.
Ashbridge’s final act capped his fine day as he slotted his ninth conversion.
Skipper Bartlett was in fine spirits following the match. “We scored some fantastic tries today. Just as pleasing was keeping Bosworth scoreless in the second half. Now we look forward with some excitement to next week’s challenge at Market Harborough”.