by Andy Coldrick 

Bramley Buffaloes 26 (6) v Dewsbury Celtic 0 (0)

Bramley Buffaloes recorded their third successive home win to stay three points clear at the top of the RLCN as they defeated a determined Dewsbury Celtic 26-0 at a hot and sultry Stanningley on Saturday afternoon. The Buffaloes enhanced their reputation as a strong defensive team by keeping Celtic scoreless for the first time this season.

The Buffaloes had some late withdrawals which meant that James McAlistair appeared on the wing for the second time this season (last time was away at Warrington), Shaun Flynn also made a welcome return to the bench. James Brown, Danny Johnson, Danny Mitchell and Dan Lavery were all unavailable. Player coach Paul Heaton stepped down from the Celtic team which won so impressively against Nottingham last week in order to accommodate the return of influential play-maker Scott Dyson. James Eatherley and Tom Norris were also missing from the backs, in their place came Danny Crabtree and James Halmshaw. Eddie Kilroy, selected in the RLCN team of the month for June was also missing as was Danny Waters, Andy Gibson and Jack Millington came in to replace them.

The Buffaloes were out of the traps quick as they tested the Celtic defence with a couple of deft chip kicks which were dealt with by the Celtic defence. However on three minutes one of the Buffaloes outstanding players of the season so far, Richard Hulme, chipped over the Celtic defence and he raced through to collect the wickedly bouncing ball as Thomas hesitated, Hulme scored under the posts and Drake converted. Any thoughts of an avalanche of Buffaloes points quickly disappeared as Celtic got their hands on the ball and started a sustained period of dominance. Scott Dyson was instrumental all afternoon in guiding Celtic around the pitch and off one of his huge bombs Celtic forced a drop-out as Jimmy Waddington did well to knock the ball dead. Celtic came at Bramley strongly and got a repeat set of six tackles when they forced a second drop-out moments later. On the third set Junior Brandford did well to get down and smother a kick through close to the line. The Buffaloes responded on fifteen minutes when Matty Mullholland, Richard Leese and Robin Wilkes all made drives over the advantage line, Drake then put in cross-field kick and quick hands between Richardson and McGann almost opened up Celtic but the Buffaloes were pulled back for a forward pass in the build up. Moments later Craig Green made a drive to the line and was held short, Hulme then spun in the tackle and crashed over only for it to be ruled out for a knock-on. Celtic then enjoyed great field position inside the Buffaloes red zone, however for all their possession, Celtic were unable to unlock a tight Buffaloes defence. James Halmshaw made a break on 29 minutes and got clear before Waddington halted him with a splendid tackle on half way. Bramley forced their first drop –out on 34 minutes and Andy McGann was just held up short on a power play .Buffaloes coach Mark Butterill introduced John Elliker off the bench and he made an instant impact by punching holes up the middle as the Buffaloes looked to finish the half strongly. Halmshaw made a second break this time hugging the left hand touch-line; however he was tackled into touch by Buffaloes skipper Paul Drake, Dewsbury Celtic coach Paul Heaton saw the tackle differently and was dismissed for something said to the officials. Just on half-time Williams had a chip kick charged down which just ran dead as Celtic looked for an opportunity to score.

Bramley Buffaloes went straight on the attack as the second half began however the game remained tight as in the balance. Richard Hulme saw a speculative drop-goal attempt fall short and live wire fullback Danny Thomas ran the ball clear. On forty seven minutes the Buffaloes increased their lead following excellent drives by Brandford and Hulme, the ball was spun wide right to Andy McGann who got over in the corner, there was no conversion. Buffaloes sub John Elliker was sin-binned on fifty minutes for dissent as tempers flared. Celtic drove the ball in to the Buffaloes 20m line from the penalty but some tough Buffaloes defence forced the ball loose as Hulme reacted first to race nearly 50metres, he was caught by the chasing defence and immediately had the ball stripped in the tackle. Celtic could still find way no way through even with the promptings of Dyson, Thomas, Walmsley and Richardson. Buffaloes full back Jimmy Waddington was now creating problems for a Celtic team who were struggling to get out of their own half, from one such break by Andy McGann scored again when given space out wide, Drake added a good conversion. Four minutes later and still down to 12 men superb inter-passing between Richard Hulme and Robin Wilkes saw Hulme go over for his second try on fifty seven minutes. Paul Drake converted, 22-0. The last quarter of the game saw the Buffaloes dominate field position and possession as Celtic’s attacks became less and less. Celtic went close on 63 minutes but again magnificent scrambling defence kept them at bay. As the game entered its final throes Bramley bombed a couple of chances as they threw the ball around, they did however cross the whitewash again three minutes from time when Elliker bust the Celtic defence on the Buffaloes 20m line, he reached half-way before passing to the supporting Jon Nicholls who was hauled down 20m from the Celtic line, a quick play the ball saw John Richardson score in the corner. Drake missed with the conversion and also with a lone range penalty on the final whistle.

This was an entertaining game which the Buffaloes had to work hard to win against determined opponents, Dewsbury Celtic. As Celtic had done the previous week, to nil an opponents in this league takes some doing so all credit to the Buffaloes to quality defence. On a different day Celtic against different opponents Celtic may well have taken something from the game. Buffaloes still look good as we enter the last 6-7 weeks of the season, Celtic meanwhile can build on this performance and look towards cementing a place in the top 6 which is well within their capabilities.

Game star: From 1-17 this was very much a n impressive team performance, built on the back of some exceptionally strong and disciplined defence. Jimmy Waddington was voted Buffaloes man-of-the-match by Dewsbury Celtic and I have no qualms with that, he played really well. Top effort from skipper Paul Drake, Matty Mullholland, Richards’s Leese and Hulme and Junior Brandford. Well played to all four subs as well as they kept the momentum going.

Game breaker: Bramley Buffaloes scored 3 tries in 10 second half minutes when they were reduced to 12 men and that effectively killed the game as a contest.

Bramley Buffaloes: 1. Jimmy Waddington, 2. Andy McGann, 3. John Richardson, 4. Matt Mullholland, 5. Alistair James, 6. Tony Williams, 7. Jon Nicholls, 8. Richard Leese, 9. Richard Hulme, 10. Junior Brandford, 11. Craig Green, 12. Robin Wilkes, 13. Paul Drake, Subs (all used): 14. Graham Harrison, 15. Simon Speight, 16. John Elliker, 17. Shaun Flynn.
Tries: Hulme (3 & 57), McGann (47 & 53), Richardson (77)
Goals: Drake 3/6

Dewsbury Celtic: 1. Danny Thomas, 2. Niki Crabtree, 3. Danny Crabtree, 4. James Halmshaw, 5. Ryan Ginnerly , 6. Scott Dyson, 7. Josh West, 8. Lee Wilkins, 9. Jake Richardson, 10. Danny Lee, 11. Andy Gibson, 12. Joe Diskin, 13. Dominic Byrne, Subs (all used): 14. Alex Walmsley, 15. Joe Waters, 16. Jack Millington, 17. Matty Shaw.

Half-time: 6-0
Final score: 26-0

Penalty Count: 10(6)-10(3)

Referee: Danny Tindall
Dismissed: Paul Heaton (Dewsbury Celtic) coach – Foul & abusive language towards an official (36 mins)
Sin-Bin:John Elliker (Bramloey Buffaloes) – Dissent (50 mins)

Man of the Match: 
Bramley Buffaloes: Jimmy Waddington
Dewsbury Celtic: Alex Walmsley

Next game: Saturday 17 July 2010
Competition: RLCN
Opponents: Nottingham Outlaws
Venue: Away
Kick-off: 3.30pm