A sunny Saturday at Marbill Hill Park marked a new era for Bulldogs RFC and British Airways as they combined and played their first league game under the new guise of ‘Bulldog Flyers’.
The opposition, Hayes, who themselves have survived extinction in recent years, came with a new look side, younger, faster and with more tattoos than the east wing of Parkhurst.
A rousing team talk from Colin opening proceedings, painting a vision of returning rugby to the core values of sportsmanship, integrity and good, enjoyable rugby.
Early indications suggested we might deliver on all four, the Bulldog Flyers dominated the early phases.a strong pack, providing a good platform for some adventurous moves in the backs. Mick (not Nick),Chewy’s Aussie neighbour, denied a dream debut score. He collected a charge down and grounded beyond their try line only for it to be ruled out for an earlier infringement (of the referee’s judgement). Hayes continued to defend their line as the BFs failed to capitalise on their possession. Hayes eventually countered and opened the scoring through their pacy backs (their non smokers).
The Flyers regrouped and recommenced their assault. Once again the forwards made the hard yards before match day captain Luke powered his way through for the Bulldogs 2nd try. Once again it was ruled out after the ref sought the advice from the opposition (double movement they said)!
With ball in hand Hayes were proving to be a handful and within minutes they had raced in for a second which was duly converted…0-12. BFs finally got their reward following a line out in the corner. “Captain Luke Park Walker’ collected at 4 (one of many) and with a shunt from the pack Michael was able to ground and register our first points. With the score at 5-12 at half time it looked there for the taking.
A familiar theme was beginning to emerge, Bulldogs over exuberance was resulting in missed passes and handling errors (which given we are new to each other probably not surprising). Hayes picked up the loose ball and countered once more running the ball in for their 3rd which was soon followed by 4th as the BFs ambitious endeavour once again proved their undoing.
The backs had defended hard and for once were the beneficiaries of a turnover. The ball was recycled through the forwards and the resulting power play saw Henry reduce the deficit to 12-25, although by now too late for any kind of upset.
As the game reached it’s conclusion the speed of the opposition’s back line was used to run around the weary legs of a proud but frustrated Flyers team who had left everything on the pitch. The final score 12-32.
The winner of the day was Rugby…alright…ok, it was Hayes but Bulldog Flyers will be back and in time will emerge as a cohesive force to be reckoned with.