Henley Bulls 12-22 Richmond Normans

By Tom Haynes 

The Bulls were back in action after a number of weeks off and travelled to South-West London to take on Richmond Normans. They were two players short, although Richmond kindly lent us a couple of players so we could go ahead with 15-a-side. 

There were a number unavailabilities and injuries which allowed the Bulls to start with five 18 year old's and two 19 year old's. 3 of the 18 years old have been though the minis, juniors and colts with Henley.

It was a lovely day, a day made for running rugby and that was what we were treated to from both sides. The Normans scored early from a powerful carries from their big forwards. The Bulls then came into the game, Rhys Amos and Matt Mann leading a great defensive effort, forcing mistakes and allowing turnovers to happen. 

The half back pair of Harry West and Jack Allison, both 18, then started to boss the game and were dictating where the game was being played. The Bulls then went close when Matt Crook got the ball in open space and used his pace to to go around the defend before a neat grubber kick though the full backs legs, unfortunately the bounce was not kind and the Normans cleared their lines. 

Devon Lee, at full back was looking to counter attack at every opportunity, he always beat the first defender and made many meters. Unfortunately for the Bulls, they were punished for a couple of mistakes and found themselves 19-0 down at half time.

Allison kicked off the second half and it was young Henry Neal who made the first tackle and set the tone of how the Bulls where going to play. George Jupp and Huw Evans were both able to get their hands on the ball more and were making effective carries along with captain Amos. The pressure was all on the Normans, they were having to defend well to keep the Bulls out. 

The Bulls then scored a fantastic team try, going through a number of pairs of hands, started by Lee and finished in the corner by hooker Lewis Strong. The Bulls now in full confidence, were no looking for the next score. West and Allison both showing more and more confidence in adapting to senior rugby, were making little darts, half breaks, keeping the defence honest. 

Amos, Inoke, Jupp added with big strong carries to get the Bulls over the gain line. Crook, another one who had adapted to senior rugby made a half break, only to be caught just short of the try line. Then it was success; Neal and Evans with strong carries, allowed West to get the ball at pace to Finn Glass, the prop then produced a wonderful 20 meter pass off his left hand for the on loan Richmond wing to dot down. Allison add a superb conversion from out wide to take the Bulls within a score of the host. 

Unfortunately from the kick off, the Normans forced a penalty and took a shot at goal to take the game away from the Bulls and make the final score 22-12 to the Normans. 

A very entertaining game and Henley showed that there is a lot of young talent coming through.