BUFFALOES MOVE CLOSER TO MINOR PREMIERSHIP
Dewsbury Celtic 6 (6) v Bramley Buffaloes 42 (22)
Bramley Buffaloes took a significant step closer to retaining the RLCN Minor Premiership when they outplayed their hosts, Dewsbury Celtic, and recorded an excellent 6-42 away win at Crow Nest Park.
Once again Mark Butterill had to shuffle his team around to accommodate injuries and unavailability. Back into the team came Dan Caston, Richard Leese and Steven Gill, whilst Gareth Barker was on the bench; his last appearance in a Buffaloes shirt was against Castleford Panthers as a try scoring centre back in February 2008. Dewsbury Celtic also had a few team changes from the team that lost at Carlisle the previous week, notably there was no Josh West at scrum half after his man-if-the-match performance at Carlisle.
On an overcast afternoon Bramley kicked off playing uphill and immediately the Celtic defence made a hash of the start and turned the ball over to the Buffaloes. There was little between both teams in the early stages as they battled for superiority and defences were mostly on top. Dewsbury fell foul of the referee on numerous occasions early on, mostly for poor tackling technique which was frequently round the head and neck of the Buffaloe players. Richard Leese was the stand-out Bramley player early on with several excellent carries and some big tackling. Robin Wilkes back at loose forward always seemed to find space and it was he who on 10 minutes twisted and turned in the tackle before off-loading out the back found Graig Green wide out who scored an easy try. Drake added an excellent conversion.
Bramley took the game to Celtic who were finding it difficult to make any impression on some quality Bramley tackling. Paul Drake produced an excellent long raking kick on 15 minutes which the Celtic full-back and winger both managed to make a real mess off, the on rushing Nick Fontaine pounced on their mistake and crossed for a poachers try, Drake again converted. Although their completion rate was not great, some poor options taken and lost ball, the Buffaloes were playing with confidence and taking the game to Dewsbury Celtic. Celtic for their part posed little threat early on, only being able to make the odd foray into the Buffaloes half and not really threatening to post points. Celtic loose forward Dom Byrne was sent to the sin bin on 20 minutes for dissent and his team paid a high price as Andy McGann sent Craig Green over in the corner almost immediately afterwards. Paul Drake added a superb touchline conversion. Celtic did mount some pressure on the Buffaloes line and forced them to defend back-to-back sets on their own line, Bramley stood up to the test. On 29 minutes Andy Gibson was sin binned for another high shot too many. Dan Caston had a great run to the Celtic line, unfortunately Nick Fontaine dropped the ball when a score seemed certain. Fontaine redeemed himself moments later when he had a 50m run to the line only to be hauled down just short, quick hands and positive running saw Simon Speight cross out wide as the Celtic defence struggled to keep it’s shape. There was just enough time left in the half for Scott Pendlebury to put in a good run before Dewsbury, out of nothing and on the back of a blatant forward pass scored on half time through Luke Kemp. James Eatherley converted to make it 6-22 at the break.
Dewsbury came out with more purpose in the second half which for the opening 12 minutes was a scrappy affair. Dewsbury were still persisting with their high tackle policy and falling foul of the referee, Bramley on the other hand seemed anxious to score and finish the game off. The result was a stop-start affair with neither team posing a real threat. Bramley did though have an excellent kick-chase policy which worked very well all afternoon, Craig Green, Aidy Manley, Dan Caston and Nick Fontaine were always pressurising the Celtic players. After prolonged pressure Jon Nicholls spotted a gap and darted through on 52 minutes. Nick Fontaine then completed 4 successive tacklers from marker as Celtic made little progress off their line. Richard Leese was held up short of the line as he time after time drove the ball in. Another penalty this time on 62 minutes saw Tim Land become the third Dewsbury player to be sent to the sent bin; and as in the first half they paid the price as from 10m out Scott Pendlebury tapped the ball to himself and slide over in the corner for a deserved try. Craig Green completed his hat-trick on 68 minutes and Andy McGann was rewarded for his hard work with a well taken try on 76 minutes as he was quickest to react as Drake kicked through from a scrum, Andy won the race to touchdown.
Final score 6-42 and a good afternoon’s work at a ground where traditionally we have had to grind out results and have frequently been drawn into an arm wrestle. This time however the team showed much improved discipline, they tackled really well and executed some good moves which brought them eight tries in all. A tricky fixture behind them, attention now turns to Hemel Stags at home and the chance to move within a hairs breadth of a fourth successive Minor Premiership title.
Game star: Robin Wilkes was voted Buffaloes man-of-the match and he was once again outstanding, particularly as he came in for a lot of head shots. Special mention to Craig Green who did a terrific job on the wing and took his tries well. Likewise Richard Leese and Simon Speight continually took the ball up and made excellent metres.
Game breaker: Jon Nicholls try on 52 minutes settled the team down and took the Buffaloes 22 points clear, Dewsbury Celtic did not have the fire-power to score that many points playing up the hill against the Buffaloes defence.
Dewsbury Celtic: 1. Jack Millington, 2. Tom Norris, 3. James Eatherley, 4. Jamie Graves, 5. Dane Adleigh, 6. Luke Kemp, 7. Rob Senior, 8. Alex Walmsley, 9. Tom Perks, 10. Tim Land, 11. Danny Samuels, 12. Andy Gibson, 13. Dom Byrne, Subs (all used) 14. Elliott Smith, 15. Matt Shaw, 16. Ben Diskin, 17. William Brook.
Try’s: Kemp (40)
Goals: Eatherley (1/1)
Bramley Buffaloes: 1. Andy McGann, 2. Nick Fontaine, 3. Dan Caston, 4. Aidy Manley , 5. Craig Green, 6. Paul Drake, 7. John Nicholls, 8. Richard Leese, 9. Scott Pendlebury, 10. Chris Gardner, 11. Jim Shuttleworth, 12. Simon Speight, 13. Robin Wilkes, Subs (all used): 14. Gareth Barker, 15. Steven Gill, 16. Antony Ward, 17. Daniel Lavery.
Try’s: Green (10, 21 & 68), Fontaine (15), Speight (36), Nicholls (52), Pendlebury (63), McGann (76)
Goals: Drake (5/8)
Sin-Binned: Byrne (20) – Dissent, Gibson (29) – High tackle, Land (62) – High tackle – All Celtic
Referee: Andy Tolley
Man of the Match:
Dewsbury Celtic: James Eatherley
Bramley Buffaloes: Robin Wilkes