BUFFALOES POSSESS TOO MUCH FIRE-POWER FOR DETERMINED LIONS AS TEMPERS FRAY IN THE HEAT
by Andy Coldrick
Bramley Buffaloes 30 (12) v Featherstone Lions 12 (2)
Bramley Buffaloes extended their lead at the top of the RLCN following a composed 30-12 home win over Featherstone Lions at sun-soaked Stanningley. The Lions cause was not helped by poor discipline and players spending regular intervals in the sin-bin, however the Buffaloes stayed focussed and got three valuable league points as well as denying their visitors a bonus point.
The Buffaloes were relieved to be able to field a full team this week, which on paper looked strong, particularly their bench players. The Lions once again changed their team around from the one that played the previous week against Nottingham, however there was no Ricky Williams. Ian Jackson, Nathan Pincher or Mark Kear this week for them.
Featherstone made a great start by forcing a drop-out straight from the kick-off, however both teams displayed solid defence in the opening exchanges. Scott Glassell surprisingly took the offer of two easy points on offer on 5 minutes and put the Lions in front when fans expected the Lions to test the Buffaloes goal-line defence. The Buffaloes responded with a Drake kick forcing the Lions to drop-out after Luke Beecher had to palm a kick dead under pressure from John Richardson. However on 12 minutes Bramley prised open the Lions defence when once again a Drake chip took a wicked bounce and left the Lions defence flat-footed, Booth gratefully accepted the opportunity to score under the posts and Drake converted. The Lions responded with some good attacking play but the closest they came to a score was being held up over the line on 17 minutes. Drake put sub Paul Gledhill over for a try on 21 minutes, however this owed much to the sheer power and determination of Gledhill not to be tackled. Drake added the conversion. Poor Lions discipline was proving to be their undoing as they continually allowed the Buffaloes to gain field position to giving away soft penalties, somewhat surprisingly the referee appeared not to speak to the Lions about this. As the first half drew to a close defences of both teams remained strong defensively and hard to penetrate. The Lions forced a second Buffaloes drop-out on 33 minutes and the Buffaloes did well to defend 3 sets of six on their own line. Just as half-time approached Dan Lavery and Danny Richardson were sin-binned for fighting and Karl Robinson was dismissed for striking with his feet.
Bramley opened the second half by kicking long and forcing the Lions to come out of their own line. The Lions showed great determination and that they were not going to lie down when Craig Barker scrambled over the line on 47 minutes, Glassell converted and this visibly lifted the Lions who began to play with purpose. Mark Spears was instrumental in taking the Lions forward as their forwards began to make good metres. Glassell missed a penalty on 53 minutes, the ball rebounding off the post and caught by Richardson who went 30m downfield on a surging run. The Lions forced a third drop out as the Buffaloes lost possession and fond themselves under pressure on their own line again, however the Buffaloes defended well. On the back of some much needed possession and with the aid of a couple of penalties Bramley got a roll on and the game turned decisively. Powerful runs by Brandford and Hulme put Gledhill in space 10m out and he proved unstoppable and scored by the posts. Three minutes later a superb flat pass from Hulme put Brandford in for his first try for the Buffaloes, both tries converted by Drake. Danny Richardson was sin-binned for a second time this time for dissent, Bramley took full advantage and after quick hands Booth looked a certain scorer before passing to Richardson to score, Drake added an excellent conversion, 30-8. The Lions came back again when Danny Glassell pounced on le as the heat took its toll on the players and tempers became frayed. Graham Harrison and Richard Hulme were both sin-binned in the last 10 minutes for the Buffaloes. With the extra man the Lions mounted a series of attacks and finished strongly, camped for the most part inside the Buffaloes 10m zone, there was still no way through for them though, although only a superb cover tackle by Jimmy Waddington denied the Lions further points.
In the heat the top 2 clashed and the Buffaloes ultimately came out on top, recording a decisive win as they denied the Lions a bonus point. The game never really hit the heights but there was no lack of endeavour from both teams. The Buffaloes will take the positives from another excellent defensive display and the fact that they were able to absorb pressure and then post points when the opportunities arose. The Lions will reflect on what may have been if they had had better discipline, their younger players stood up well to the test which bodes very well for the future. As a team they showed what they could do and they will fancy their chances of a top 3 finish at least, which is well within their capabilities.
Game star: Mark Spears worked tirelessly all afternoon for the Lions, however there were key performances for the Buffaloes from Jimmy Waddington, Junior Brandford, Paul Drake, Paul Gledhill and Richard Hulme. Hulme was the ‘game star’ for another excellent shift in both attack and defence, always strong in defence and taking the team forward with purpose when on the offensive.
Game breaker: Richard Hulmes flat cut-out pass that put Junior Brandford over for a try on 60 minutes put the Buffaloes three scores in front and out of sight.
Bramley Buffaloes: 1. Jimmy Waddington, 2. Nick Fontaine, 3. Matt Mullholland, 4. Matthew Booth, 5. John Richardson, 6. Paul Drake, 7. Tony Williams, 8. Junior Brandford, 9. Richard Hulme, 10. Danny Mitchell, 11. Simon Speight, 12. Danny Johnson, 13. Graham Harrison, Subs: 14. Scott Pendlebury, 15. Dan Caston, 16. Dan Lavery, 17. Paul Gledhill.
Tries: Gledhill (21 & 57), Booth (12), Brandford (60), Richardson (66)
Goals: Drake (5/5)
Featherstone Lions: 1. Sam Wilson, 2. Josh Beecher, 3. Danny Glassell, 4. Stu Davis, 5. Luke Beecher, 6. Karl Robinson, 7. Scott Glassell, 8. Gareth Jones, 9. Paul Watson, 10. Danny Richardson, 11. Martyn Cresswell, 12. Craig Barker, 13. Mark Spears, Subs: 14. Dean Gamble, 15. Craig Machen, 16. Martin Nichol, 17. Carl Vickers.
Tries: Barker (47), Glassell (D) (69)
Goals: Glassell (S) (2/4)
Final score: 30-12
Penalty Count: 18(12)-13(6)
Referee: Danny Tindall
Sin-Bin: Lavery (Buffaloes) – 39 mins Fighting, Richardson (Lions) – 39 mins Fighting, Robinson (Lions) – 39 mins Running in/Punching, Richardson (Lions) – 64 mins Dissent, Harrison (Buffaloes)- 70 mins Use of forearm on floor, Hulme (Buffaloes) – 76 mins Late challenge.
Dismissed: Robinson (Lions) Striking with Feet.
Man of the Match:
Bramley Buffaloes: Richard Hulme
Featherstone Lions: Mark Spears
Next game: Saturday 12 June 2010
Opponents: Carlisle Centurions