With Cantabs keen to play a first match under lights, the Bulls travelled with a good mix of players for the first 80-minute match of the season. It turned out to be a great encounter.
Played over four 20” sessions, the game was played at a good pace and with vigorous physicality, which will have helped both squads prepare for the upcoming challenges.
Ives were delighted to see the return of a number of players injured last season, including Warwick Brittany, Max Dominy and Andrew Hutchinson. The game also saw new and returning players have a crack, some with the seniors for the first time. So welcome to Owen Clarricoats, Adam Halliwell, Dan Proctor, Tom Ransom, Paul Sharma, Sam Smith and Jack Starkey.
Special thanks also to James Mepham and Joe Storey, who we trust enjoyed their outings in key positions.
The first quarter saw Ives attempting to play with speed. They were held up as Cantabs fell foul of the arbiter throughout the period in the hosts’ attempts to slow down Ives attack. With imprecision close to the line the Bulls could not cross the whitewash.
Cantabs attacking efforts were frequently thwarted early as great defence kept them behind the gainline.
The second quarter saw the Ives take a grip of the game up front. The lineout functioned very well and the scrum was dominant. Two tries ensued: Clarricoats darted over from the base of a 5-metre scrum; Duncan Williams dotted down after a fine driving maul from the lineout.
The third period saw the Bulls suffer several penalty decisions against. Cantabs used the possession and field position to score two tries.
With the hosts able to field virtually three teams, the Bulls were facing fresher opponents in the last quarter. Despite some great defensive work by the visitors, Cantabs were able to score two more tries before the close.
The coaching staff were happy with the performance. There were many aspects of the game that went very well, especially the set piece, early defence and attacking intent. As always, there are things to work on before the double header on 7th September at the Chicken Shack versus Ely.