The Bridgend Blue Bulls Rugby League Team travelled to The New River Sports and Fitness Centre London on Saturday 28th January for the start of their Challenge Cup Campaign. Drawn to play The North London Chargers, they were in no doubt of the challenge that lay ahead of them.
After a recent victory over the East Wales University Select XIII that saw 4 players failing to commit to the tie through injury, The Bulls were in a positive mood ahead of the journey to N22. Travelling a little lighter than anticipated saw Team Manager Stephen Smith put on a jersey and take the Bulls firmly by the horns and steer them in the direction they needed to go during the pre-match dressing room huddle.
Hoping to progress further than in last years campaign, which saw the Bulls crash out to Egremont after a gruelling 9 hour journey to the edge of The Lake District National Park. Chatting with Greg Morris, the newly appointed Social Media and Marketing Manager for The Blue Bulls, Stephen Smith and team Captain Nathan Hawkins spoke highly of the Teams spirit and how they were relishing the tie at The London Skolars’ home ground.
The North London Chargers took charge of the game from the first kick of the ball which landed deep in the Bulls half. Slick hands on fast feet saw the charging North London side run in the first of what was to be a 20 try scoreline for the opening game of their Challenge Cup Campaign. Rarely relinquished possession saw The Chargers winning 40 points to nil by half time after a Bulls first half try was disallowed, which saw the Bridgend side firmly aware of the challenges that faced them in the second half.
Unflinching tenacity saw the Bulls firmly cement their place in the hearts of the Chargers fans as try after try was scored by the Chargers’ half-back Phil Lyon who was to be the star of the game. The North London player finishing with a personal points tally of 52 points, scoring four tries and only managing to kick 18 from 20 attempts saw him fall short of the Challenge Cup record of Chris Thorman’s longstanding record 56-point haul, which took place in a 132-0 win for The York City Knights against Northumbria University in 2011. Lyons can claim the title of the second highest players score ever in a Challenge Cup game.
The Bridgend Blue Bulls returned home under no illusion of what needs to be done in time for their next Challenge Cup Campaign journey which starts immediately.