Final Score: Bucks RFC 39 – Blacks 15
The cleats of Bucks 2’s ran out on the loamy sands at Turf City for the opening round of the 2017/2018 season - running in six tries to three against Blacks. Having conceded to Blacks in the previous season opener Bucks were determined to mark a big impression this time around.
Conditions being fiercely hot and negligible wind to provide any relief – conditions were tough. The lads melting from the get go the early phases were dominated with what may have appeared to be an on field Secret Santa session as each team gifted the ball to each other with a series of knock-ons and turnovers. It would be fair to say the Bucks may have been the merrier of the two sides and generously providing nigh on 15 penalties to the Blacks in the first half alone.
However Bucks were first to post a score with Jonny (magic boot) Carswell slotting a penalty from in front and created some momentum with Rex Rustling soon after charging his way over the line for the first five pointer of the season after the Bucks spread the ball wide and some quick play from the ruck and dominant running from Rex.
Blacks responded with scores of their own but the Bucks managed to close out the half by dotting down for another five points after large gaps started appearing in the tiring Blacks defense and went into the break ahead.
The second half Bucks were able to reign in the discipline and string together some set piece plays. With a dominant scrum and winning good ball from the line out Bucks were able to capitalize. Charlie Osler played strong from No.8 and produced an early season highlight having been dragged down meters from the line only to execute an overhead offload for Ben Conway to waltz in for another maximum score.
The Bucks pre-season fitness proved the difference in the end and ran away with some wonderful plays resulting in maximum points: Ian Cheong produced a brilliant offload having received the ball out wide on the wing after Bucks forward pack were strong in the scrum. Ian ranging out wide and running at pace was just caught by his opposite before he was able to swing the ball around the defenders back to put the man on the inside in for another five.
Featuring for the first time in Championship colours Liam Clews stepped up from the clubs Under 18 side to dominate the lineout and ran strongly throughout the game – a promising talent for the club. Also on debut and also up from U.18’s was Killian Midena who showcased an array of great running ball rugby after a quick throw from Ian saw Killian cast of and beat no less than 5 defenders to dot down.
As frustrations mounted for the away team the Bucks drove the game home on the final play of the game having earned a penalty after a lengthy altercation both on and off the field – probably debating I’m sure the nuances of using whole meal vs white flour to make pizza bases. It resulted in a rarely seen peculiarity with the Blacks beverage man getting a red card which gifted Bucks one last opportunity to roll out a set piece play. Graham Rushton secured the lineout well and Charlie Osler receiving the ball midfield, 35m from the line, dispatched defenders through the middle of the park on his way to smashing the ball down for a final score which brought the game to a conclusion.
After solid performances and great contributions around the Johnny Carswell, Charlie Osler, Ben Conway and Cian Cafferty have made well earned selection up into the Premiership squad –wishing you lads all the best.
Bucks 39 (C.Osler, R.Rustling,Cillian, N.Hughes(2); JCarswell 3 cons 1 pen)
Blacks 13 (3 tries)