BUFFALOES FINISH STRONGLY TO DEFEAT STORM
by Andy Coldrick
Bramley Buffaloes 44 (16) v South London Storm 16 (12)
Bramley Buffaloes completed their 2-game pre-season with a solid 44-16 victory over a determined South London Storm at the Arthur Miller Stadium, Stanningley on Sunday in the annual East Coast Challenge match
The Bramley team saw a number of changes to that that beat Wigan Riversiders two weeks previous, back in the team were Paul Drake, Nick Fontaine and Jon Nicholls, whilst Anthony Ward was on the bench. South London had a squad of 19 players as they built towards the start of their season.
The game started in warm sunshine with a breeze blowing from left to right. There was nothing between the teams in the early exchanges. Craig Green was held up on 6 minutes and was then penalised a minute later. South London took advantage of John Elliker being treated in back play as big prop Adam Tran scored an easy try as the Bramley goal-line defence struggled to fill the gap in the defensive line. Matty O’Shea added the conversion. Bramley responded by immediately going on the attack and John Richardson had a try ruled out for a forward pass. Nick Fontaine filling in at fullback went on a 40m run after taking a quick tap penalty; he was stopped by a great tackle from Matt Stringer. On fourteen minutes Tom Rogers was sin-binned for South London as a result of throwing a punch at Dan Caston. Nick Fontaine was held up short as he sought to chime into the attack at every opportunity; however the Buffaloes eventually got their first points on the board on nineteen minutes when Tony Williams burrowed over the line from a scrum 10m out. Drake missed the conversion. South London had a repeat set of six tackles on the Buffaloes line which was extremely well defended and as always seems to happen, after repelling the Storm attack Bramley went down the other end of the pitch and Paul Drake showed an outrageous dummy to score under the posts, he added the conversion to make it 10-6 after twenty one minutes. Craig Green again went close before being bundled into touch, however John Elliker scored a terrific try on the half hour as he broke through two tackles and scored by the post. Jon Nicholls uncharacteristically knocked the ball on from the re-start and this allowed South London to build good pressure. Huge forward Jeremy Benson fell over the Buffaloes line to score with his first touch of the ball, by the posts to get the Storm back in the game. The half closed with Stringer not knowing what day it was following a big (legal) tackle from John Elliker. At half-time Buffaloes led 16-12.
The second half was by and large a scrappy affair as the game was spoilt by too much niggle entering the game and too many stoppages from the referee. As a result the game never really flowed, Bramley looked to play the game at pace and get a roll on, whilst the Storm sought to slow the play down, helped by the referee seemingly content for this to happen. Danny Johnson was put through a big gap on forty two minutes by Paul Drake and he scored a good try, however any thoughts of a second half stroll were banished on fifty minutes when Tran scored a good try after good approach work. O’Shea missed the conversion and it was 20-16. As the game wore on Tony Williams began to exert more influence, he created an opening on fifty four minutes after an excellent weaving run, unfortunately Matthew Booth’s pass to Green went astray and the chance was gone. Paul Drake was shown a straight red card on fifty seven minutes for a high tackle. South London saw their opportunity to capitalise having the extra man, however the Buffaloes defence stood firm in the face of prolonged pressure. Tony Williams stepped up and relieved the pressure with a 40/20 kick on the hour and from the resultant scrum Elliker crashed over from 10m for his second try. Williams easily converted. From that point on Bramley began to dominate the game, their defence remained strong and they asked more questions of the Storm defence. In the final ten minutes of the game the Buffaloes registered three converted tries as their superior handling and speed told. After a great passing movement John Richardson had too much pace and crossed in the corner, followed by a wonderful touchline conversion from Williams, this was followed by a superb solo effort from Williams on seventy six minutes as he collected a deep kick and raced 65m to score unopposed, jinking past three defenders in the process to score under the posts. Finally, Buffaloes man-of-the-match Nick Fontaine scored a well-deserved try on the whistle which Williams again converted.
Game star: Nick Fontaine had an excellent all round game as stand-in fullback. He made several excellent tackles and was strong and elusive with ball in hand.
Game breaker: John Elliker’s second try on fifty nine minutes took Bramley into a 26-16 lead and gave them the breathing space they required to finish the job in style, albeit playing with only twelve men.
Bramley Buffaloes: 1. Nick Fontaine, 2. John Richardson, 3. Matt Mullholland, 4. Matthew Booth, 5. Craig Green, 6. Paul Drake, 7. Tony Williams, 8. Richard Leese, 9. Jon Nicholls, 10. Daniel Lavery, 11. John Elliker, 12. Simon Speight, 13. Dan Caston, Subs: 14. Junior Brandford, 15. Danny Johnson, 16. Anthony Ward, 17.Dave Parker.
Tries: Williams (16 & 76), Elliker (30 & 59), Drake (21), Johnson (42), Richardson (70), Fontaine (79)
Goals: Drake 2/4, Williams 4/4
South London Storm: 1. Chris True, 2. Andrew Vernon, 3. Chris Beavanr, 4. Tom Pryor, 5. Matt Stringer, 6. Lee Melarthy, 7. Matty O’Shea, 8. Adam Tran, 9. Luke Bonnor, 10. Parata Ainsley, 11. Matt Smith, 12. Brett Thompson, 13. Dave Brennan. Subs: 14. Phil Browne, 15. Eian Stewart, 16. Dujon Thompson, 17. Jeremy Benson, 18. Adam Naryon, 19. Tom Rogers.
Tries: Tran (8 & 50), Benson (37)
Goals: O’Shea 2/3
Final score: 44-16
Man of the Match:
Bramley Buffaloes: Nick Fontaine
South London Storm: Luke Bonnor