The away team got the game under-way and straight from the off a juggled
attempted catch by Hardaker showed the early nerves that were to highlight
his own error stricken performance.
Two tackles in and Mr Hicks reminded everyone at the ground that we were gonna
take notice of him when he gave an incorrect play-the-ball against the home team.
From the following set Sammut grubber kicked through and grounded in front
of a jubilant away support that had many of us checking that we were
actually at a pre-season testimonial and not in a Grand Final Foster converted 0-6.
In the next couple of sets we witnessed penalties ,misplaced passes and
blind off loads from a home team not at the races and well out enthused by
the visitors which culminated in a Hardaker misjudging a kick would go dead
and then knocking on in a desperate attempt to get back into the field of
play giving Sammut a gift four pointer for Foster to convert 0-12 and a silent
Finally one or two passes stuck for the home team but a Sinfield break
resulted in nothing but another change over of possession and another
Some strong runs by the visitors pack enabled Diskin to go from dummy half pass
short for Scruton who steamed through a huge gap and although superbly
tackled by Hardaker his off-load found Kearney and an easy kick for foster
This wasn't in the script we were well out-muscled up front and their passes
stuck whereas ours were poor, mis-timed and not sticking and despite a
whistle happy approach for both teams the visitors recovered from their
errors much quicker and better than we did.
Unfortunately new signing Moon was to leave the field after about 25 minutes
with what seemed to be a head clash and Ablett moved to left centre which turned out
to be a good move for us.
A flowing move and break down the Southstand touch line resulted in a Mags kick
through, beating the scrambling defence to put Vickery over for the first of
his double, but golden boot Sinny hit the post with a seemingly easy
conversion attempt 4-18, and we had finally got going.
The next score came after we made good ground and some slick hands from
Achurch enabled Watkins although seemingly forward pass to put Vickery in at
the corner another miss from Golden Boot 8-18.
With ten minutes to half-time both sides traded errors, big hits and penalties but
no further scores took place and it was 8-18 at the break and the consensus was that we
had to pass much better and speed up our all round game. The visitors,
without being spectacular, deservedly lead and came with intent to win.
The second half got under-way and in the first ten minutes we started strong but
were unable to capitalise on our chances one from a Sinfield clean break
which ended with a kick going dead and another great run from Watkins who
passed to Sammut rather than Vickery.
Finally, after some end to end exchanges and more errors and penalties for
both teams, a flowing move and Clarkson break resulted in a score from
Sinfield finally goaled and it was 14-18 and game on.
From the next attack the home team put a bomb towards the touch line but
Vickerys knock-back was picked by Kearney and his 60 metre break was only
stopped by a brilliant cover tackle from Hardaker. But after another penalty,
Kearney spun through some weak defence to make it 14-24 with fourteen minutes
The home side upped through the gears then and their next possession ended with
Burrow taking advantage of a three on two out wide to put Hall over and another
missed kick made it 18-24 with ten to go.
From the restart the move of the match saw two cut out passes in our own twenty,
saw a break from Ablett after some great handling from Clarkson and he put
over the Man of moment for his trade mark try from supporting the break
Sinfield kicked and it was 24-24.
Both sides had possession and tried to win it, the visitors turning down a
kick at goal in attempt to get the try, and a Sinfield drop attempt well
charged down. A draw was a fair reflection even with the five tries to four in
Walker and Scruton lead a solid Bulls pack and did a lot good hard graft up
front for the with also good performances from Kearney and Sammut.
For the home team Ablett was my Man-Of-the-Match who ran the visitors ragged from left centre and
Peacock and Griffin had good games up front with some decent efforts from
Delaney, Achurch and Watkins.
Moon didn't return after his knock and I hope it isnt another new signing
broken before the season has begun because we've been there before.
hardaker will want to forget this one quickly despite two sublime text book
cover tackles and Vickery doesn't look out of place.
Both sets of fans can look forward hoping for things to improve but some
good moments to feel upbeat about but a word of caution for the Bulls they
lack depth and not many teams will gift them a 12-0 start.
As for the officials, whilst I appreciate its pre-season for them as well,
consistency is all we ask for and we are not there to watch them.