Chinnor Falcons 24-15 Henley Bulls
The Bulls travelled up to Chinnor for the first round of the Oxfordshire cup on Friday night. With both teams looking to use their backs to play free running rugby, the weather however had other ideas. The wind was howling across the pitch and the rain was lashing down, it changed how the game would be played.
The Bulls kickoff into the wind, the first few phases of the match set the tone of the game, the ball was kept tight in the forwards and then kicked down the pitch, Chinnor had the wind advantage. They used this to their advantage and put the pressure on the Bulls in their 22. The pressure eventually told and Chinnor scored after 15 minutes, to add salt to the wound the in-form Sam Qulech had to be withdrawn with a broken hand. However the Bulls came charging back and began to get the upper hand in the set piece. They used this to work their way up to the Chinnor 22. The forward battle was very physical, but through Scott White, Adam Neal, and Jimmy Wright they were gaining meters. A line out, 10 meters out led to Andrew Stobbs finding White leading to a driving maul, which Chinnor did well to stop just short before James Dobree-Carey bounced over to make score 7-5 to Chinnor. The next part of the half was a forward battle, with each side struggling to hold onto ball in the wet conditions. A silly penalty allowed to Chinnor to kicked into the Bulls 22. A mini drive from line out and a break off the back of the maul allowed Chinnor to score, 12-5. This gave confidence to Chinnor and they started to play and gradually worked up their way back into the Bulls 22. The Bulls defence stood strong with some great tackling from Henley back 5 forwards White, Wright, Neal, Dobree-Carey and Liam Goodison, the Bulls held out for 5 minutes to take the game into half time.
The Bulls came firing out of the blocks in the second half with some great tactical kicking from fly half Peter Kerins led to Bulls attacking in the Chinnor 22, a coupe of phases led to Ollie Rudd throwing a super miss pass to Tapau who finished very well to take it to 12-10. The remaining part of the game was played in the Bulls half, a lot in their 22. It was a heroic defensive effort with so many tackles been put in by the Bulls forwards. The pressure told, allowing Chinnor to score twice However, tho the Bulls were battered and bruised, they did not give up and made sure they finished the game strongly, with Andrew Stobbs being pressed over. It was a very spirited performance by the young Bulls side that can take huge confidence in to the zoo league, 24-15 final score.