Bulls return to winning ways with nine-try win
By Phil Brown
Oakham gain deserved bonus point with final play
A well fed and oiled crowd including much travelling support enjoyed a thrilling match of 13 tries.
Ives started slowly and were soon facing a ten-point deficit after a penalty in front and a well worked move from a lineout seeing the visiting full back scamper through.
As the first quarter expired, the Bulls began to play to their capabilities. Putting the opposition under pressure led to a penalty in the Oakham 22. With youngster Bradley Robinson
handling his front row duties very well, skipper Ollie Bartlett
opted to scrummage and the back-pedalling Oakham defence had no answer to a fine line by Paul Ashbridge
off a good pass by Mickey Drake
A second try soon followed when a fine break by Duncan Williams
following surges by Josh Dear
and Matt Wood
, was finished off by the supporting John Naylor
Ives were playing with confidence and excellent handling across the park saw them gain many metres. Finally, the defence cracked, and Josh Meadows
Oakham took advantage of a quickly taken penalty to score on the stroke of halftime.
Half time 21-17
The start of the second half saw Ives stunned from the kick off. Running the ball well, the elusive full back scored his and his side’s third try to take the lead.
There then followed a bullying period of play by the hosts. The referee being keen to allow a contest for the ball allowed Tommy Newman
, Meadows and others to shine with turnovers whenever Oakham attacked. Alex Henly
, Naylor and Wood were putting in good hits.
From a 5-metre line out, Andrew Hutchison
gained possession in midfield and took route one to score. He was also on hand to support a midfield break, by whom will need to checked on the tape, to score his second.
The Bulls were rampant and playing with abandon. A superb run down the left flank where the ball was passed through multiple hands ended with Newman crashing over by the posts.
With changes being rung from the bench, John Paxton
joined the party for his first start for the 1st XV in many years and coasted in for Ives seventh.
Henly did well to disrupt an Oakham attack on the half way line. Collecting the ball deftly, he released Ben Fleming
who showed a clean pair of heels to his opposite number and sprinted in at the corner.
Paxton turned instigator from the kick off as he dummied through a gap in his own 22 and set off down the pitch. Henly was again in support and the Bulls streamed forward. Again, multiple hands were involved until Meadows capped a fine personal performance with his second.
Ashbridge had a fine day with the boot slotting eight of his nine attempts.
Oakham had not travelled in vain, however. Good spirit and patience saw them maintain possession from the kick off. The full back was again on the end of proceedings as they managed to score in the corner to gain a try bonus point.
The Ives have Thorney in the H&P Cup next week and will look to maintain momentum before the crunch clash away at Olney the following weekend.