by Andy Coldrick
A dominant second half performance by the Buffaloes saw them score six converted tries without response to secure an end-of-season play-off spot and guarantee at least a third place finish in the league.
Following a week’s break since beating Stanningley ‘A, the Buffaloes returned to action against York Acorn ‘A’ team who had earlier in the season well beaten the Buffaloes 36-10. York were keen to return to their early season form in order to finish at last in fourth spot for the play-offs; but knowing that both Milford Marlins ‘A’ and Kippax Knights could still catch them.
The game started in dry but blustery conditions and both teams completed their early sets without any concerns. The first points came on 6 minutes when Al-Rawi on half way put in a delicate chip kick on half way which Hannigan the York full back fumbled as he collected the ball, which allowed Jerome Malcolm to pick-up the ball and hold off centre Harton to score in the corner. York responded with a sustained period of pressure. They probed down the middle as well as out wide, looking particularly dangerous when Endersby had the ball on their right side. Bramley seemed to go through a lull in their own performance, failing to complete several back-to-back sets, losing possession and giving away some silly penalties. As a result it came as no surprise when York levelled up the scores on 18 minutes when prop Caldwell came onto a short pass at pace and from 15m out and barged through some fairly poor Buffaloes tackling to score. Chilton pulled his attempted conversion wide. York continued to pose the bigger threat mainly due to having the bulk of possession but tellingly, they were unable to add to their score.
On 25 minutes in a rare Bramley attack a clever kick from Al-Rawi forced a goal line drop-out. Bramley re-gathered the kick and pressed the York line. On the third tackle Al-Rawi took the ball, shaped to pass and ghosted through the defensive line to score a quality try, Forster converted. Steve Suddards on his return to the team went close as Bramley noticeably upped their game from this point. As the game drew towards half time Alex Brier scored a crucial try following excellent approach work from Craig Boot, Jerome Malcolm and Anthony Mills. Half-time 14-4.
York started the second half on the front foot as they returned the ball with plenty of vigour, seemingly taking the Buffaloes by surprise. However, despite trying to up the intensity of their game the wheels well and truly fell off for York as they conceded 36 points without reply in a torrid second half for them. Alex Brier grabbed his second try 2 minutes into the second half after Omar Al-Rawi put him through a gap with a fine pass. Forster converted, 20-4. Besides Omar Al-Rawi who was having a fine game, Daz Forster was also constantly tormenting the York defence with powerful, surging runs and was proving equally difficult to tackle. Ryan Campbell crossed for his fifth try of the season on 51 minutes following another great run from Forster who offloaded to Copland whom seemed certain to score before being hauled back, only for him to throw a pass to the supporting Campbell to score from close range. Forster converted from the touchline. The Buffaloes forwards once again superbly led by Dave Parker continued to lay the platform with some tireless work in attack and defence. Every time York had the ball they seemed to be pushed backwards by some committed tackling from the likes of O’Connor, Harrison, Smith, Parker and Bradley. Stevey Suddards welcome return to the team was capped on 68 minute when he collected a deft Forster chip close to the York line and crashed over, taking a knock for his trouble in scoring. Forster made it 4 goals from 6 attempts as the score eased out to 32-4. In the last 15 minutes Bramley ran in three more tries as they played some expansive and very entertaining rugby league. On 66 minutes Johnny Bradley was held up o the line on the left hand side before Craig Boot and Jerome Malcolm combined on the right side, going close. The ball then came back down the middle and Harrison flipped an audacious pass to the supporting Forster to score by the post. Splendid breaks by Forster and then Brier allowed Al-Rawi to spin out a long pass to Craig Boot who proved unstoppable from 10m on 70 minutes. A huge Acorn bomb was then collected by Copland close to his own line and he went on a 70m run downfield, bouncing and spinning out of tackles before being hauled down by a high tackle. Parker continued the move taking the ball forward before Johnny Bradley finished the move with a well deserved try on 75 minutes, crashing through three would-be tacklers. Forster added his seventh conversion to collect a personal haul on 18 points.
For 20-25 minutes this was an even contest before Bramley roused themselves and moved to completely dominate the remainder of the game. The forwards were excellent throughout, everyone committed to some tough uncompromising defence. In the backs Omar Al-Rawi was outstanding, an excellent kicking game, great passing and a threat when challenging the line himself. The remainder of the backs did what they have been doing for several weeks now, running good lines and scoring some good tries. Specially mention too for Rodney Menon who had a terrific game at full back. He made several excellent copybook tackles and then was equally threatening taking the ball forward.
Ten wins on the bounce sees the Buffaloes sit in third spot in the league , still with a chance of finishing first or second, but with games in hand both Skirlaugh and West Hull must be favourites to finish in the top two spots. That said, I doubt either Hull team will fancy a game in the play-offs against an in form and rampant Buffaloes outfit!
Bramley Buffaloes – 1) Rodney Menon, 2) Jerome Malcolm, 3) Craig Boot, 4) Alex Brier, 5) Liam Copland, 6) Omar AL-Rawi, 7) Steve Suddards, 8) Dave Parker, 9) Graham Harrison, 10) Callan Smith, 11) Ryan Campbell, 12) Darryl Forster, 13) Johnny Bradley, Subs; 14) Ben Pitts, 15) Danny O’Connor, 18) Andrew Hepworth, 17) Anthony Mills
Tries – Brier (39 & 42), Malcolm (6), Al-Rawi (26), Campbell (51), Suddards (68), Forster (66), Boot (70), Bradley (75)
Goals – Forster (7/9)
York Acorn ‘A’ – 1) Callum Hannigan, 2) Luke Swales, 3) Karl Horton, 4) Reece Rushworth, 5) Alex Smith, 6) Kyle Brown, 7)Ken Shepherd, 8) Nick Caldwell, 9) Antony Chilton, 10) Adam Speck, 11) Nathan Hebblethwaite, 12) Stephen Waldron, 13) Andy Gargon, Subs; 14) Josh Potter, 15) Kevin Brayshaw, 16) Harry Bromwich, 17) Gary Endersby,
Tries – Caldwell (18)
Men of the Match –
Bramley Buffaloes – Omar Al-Rawi
York Acorn ‘A’ – Stephen Waldron
[standings league_id=1 template=extend logo=false]