There were tries aplenty as St Ives Bulls continued their pre-season preparations with a keenly-contested clash against Ely Tigers in the annual Percy Walker Cup.
With the game played in four quarters, both coaches treated the match as an experimental exercise, with eyes on the upcoming league season, which begins for St Ives on September 9 against Dunstablians.
The first quarter saw St. Ives put pre-season into practice with some excellent attacking rugby from deep. Countering from a kick receipt saw the returning Tom Watts make good ground, allowing Pete Fahey to score on debut.
Another swift ball transference left Albiee Tayedzerwa free to scamper into the corner for his first of the season. Paul Ashbridge landed a difficult conversion from wide out.
The second quarter saw Ely get back in the game. The Bulls, attempting to run the ball from deep, were dispossessed and a good counter saw Ely cross in the corner.
The third quarter saw both sides making changes to test combinations.
Early on, a turnover saw Michael Wright release Ollie Raine who sprinted towards the line. He drew the last man and put Tayedzerwa into the corner for his second score.
Ely then began to take advantage of some disorganisation in the Bulls’ ranks and camped in the hosts’ half. A clearance kick was run back, the Tigers proving they could also score from deep, with a kick, chase and favourable bounce up the wing.
Soon after, an attack by the Bulls was turned over on the half way line. Once again, Ely attacked wide out and were rewarded with another try down the flank. Both efforts were converted.
Ives fought back, however, and Josh Dear, who had a fine game at the foundation of a great scrummaging effort, was on hand to barge over for a converted try.
Ely came back once again. Another clearance kick was well fielded by the Ely winger who outpaced the follow up defence to score in the corner. The Ely kicker struck a fourth accurate conversion to take the lead by a point.
The closing minutes were spent in the Ely half. Tayedzerwa thought he had scored his hat-trick, but was brought back for a foot in touch.
New skipper Ollie Bartlett was pleased with the performance. “It was good preparation for the upcoming league fixtures. There were some parts of our game which went very well indeed. And the bits that didn’t are easy to fix.”