Youth and experience on both sides makes for highly entertaining game
By Phil Brown
Great team performance sees Ives through to next round
With some first XV regulars absent, the Bulls enjoyed the occasion, able to test new combinations and young players coming through the ranks with great success. Ably steered by the experience in the pack and Mickey Drake pulling the strings at fly half, the Bulls were soon into their stride.
A sweeping series of phases from left to right and back again saw Ives progress upfield and Alex Henly
, who had a fine game, crashed through to score the opening try.
Soon after the kick off, Ives pack was rampant in the loose and ploughed a furrow directly downfield. Peterborough could only stem the attack by offending, but the quickly taken penalty saw the ball in the hands of Duncan Williams
who scored between the sticks despite the close attendance of a number of defenders.
Ives were playing with abandon and the hosts had no answer to the great attacking play. The coaches were delighted as a training ground move saw Albiee Tayedzerwa receive the ball out wide, albeit with limited room. He raced down the line and dived from distance for a spectacular score.
Scrummaging was becoming a pleasure for the Ives. Special mention for 18 year old Bradley Robinson making his first start at loosehead confronting the home heavyweight captain. That the host had to bend and twist frequently was an indication of how well Robinson was handling his first senior experience in the dark spaces of the front row union.
The reward for the team came as, having lost the ball close to the opposition line, the front row kept the scrum straight and won the ball against the head. Driving forward, a somewhat disputed touchdown was awarded to Ollie Raine. Not disputed by the referee, but Greg Dale the Ives scrum half.
Robinson also found himself in space after more expansive play across the team and bulldozed his way over the line for his first senior try.
Ives had one more opportunity before the half closed as front rowers tommy newman
and Josh Dear
combined to demonstrate sublime back-like skills to breach the home defence. Unfortunately, having recalled the “there is no I in team” pre-match call, and with the line beckoning, the final pass to the onrushing Rick Peters
went astray and the chance was lost.
With Drake converting two of the tries, the half time score was 0-29 to the Ives.
Both teams made changes at half time, with Peterborough introducing a number of Colts, and likewise the Ives giving youngsters Joe Cox and Max Flint
a full half.
With the game already secure, Ives found themselves having to defend for a long period. In addition to the darting runs and distribution he had already demonstrated, veteran Pete Fahey excelled in defence, cajoling his colleagues and leading by example.
Finding themselves on their own line, Ives managed to turn the ball over. Playing uphill and against the wind, kicking was not an option. Thus, began the try of the match. The ball was played between forward and backs until on the half way line Cox was released for a sprint to the line. He rounded the last defender to complete a tremendous team try, also his first for the seniors.
Peterborough were energised and began to run with much more purpose. Again, the Ives defence stood firm.
Flint fielded kicks well and showed a great turn of pace to make yards. Rick Peters
on the wing, and forwards Ollie Bartlett
, Raine and Ross Thompson
(yet another vet – and only two penalties conceded all match) also continued to defence well.
With the game nearly over, a couple of experimental changes caused some disorganisation in the Ives set piece and defensive patterns. Peterborough took advantage to score two tries as time elapsed, which was reward for their efforts as they never gave up.
The Bulls were a happy bunch after the game. The match had been played at a good pace, both teams had been able to test new players and combinations and the fine spirit throughout also made it very enjoyable to watch for all in attendance.