by Andy Coldrick
West Leeds Eagles 18 (6) v Bramley Buffaloes 34 (16)
Bramley Buffaloes won a tough, scrappy West Leeds derby 18-34 at neighbours West Leeds Eagles by18-34 on Saturday as so consolidated their position in the top half of Division 2 of the Yorkshire Men’s League.
The previous week’s comprehensive win at Bradford Victoria Rangers was expunged from the records and the 2 points lost as Rangers left the Division and moved down to Division 4. However in a strange twist the 34-10 defeat away to Hunslet Club Parkside 3 weeks earlier was reversed to 10-0 win to Bramley and 2 points awarded, go figure?
The Buffaloes lost both centres, Nathan Hammond and Kurtis Ritchie to injury, however the team overall remained settled. West Leeds had 4 ex-Buffaloes old boys in their ranks, Andy McGann, Craig Green, Alex Brier and Sam Nicholls.
With a good crowd behind them the Buffaloes kicked off and on the second tackle Alex Brier was penalised for dissent, a further penalty for interference followed which resulted in a deft McGill banana kick towards the post being claimed by the alert Henry to score under the posts. This was the perfect start for the Buffaloes in what was expected to be a tight contest, McGill converted. For the next 15 minutes neither team was able to impose themselves on the other as far too many unforced errors occurred and both teams were guilty of conceding cheap penalties. The contest went up a notch on 16 minutes when Buffaloes prop Tom Barraclough was sent to the sin bin for 10 minutes as a result of punching. This prompted the strange sight of the referee bringing both teams together for a lecture which went on for at least 3-4 minutes.
On 22 minutes a McGill kick through direct from the scrum saw Henry leave the West Leeds defence for dead to score, unfortunately the referee ruled a perfectly executed try offside. Within 2 minutes Sam Nicholls had crashed by the posts for a typical try on the back of a strong carry, 6-6. Bramley responded in perfect fashion within 3 minutes when Danny Baranyi sliced through a hesitant defence to score, this was followed 3 minutes later by another try as Aidan Baranyi collected a loose West Leeds pass 15m from his own line, He showed good speed to get to the West Leeds 30m line before passing to the supporting Henry to score. McGill converted to give the score a more comfortable loo at 6-16 going into half time.
Both teams started slowly in the second half but it was West Leeds who brought the game back to being a meaningful contest when Andy McGann scored a trade mark try, chiming into the line from 20m out and scoring easily by the posts, 12-16 after 46 minutes. Bramley responded with a Henry 70m break but looking certain to score we manged to lose the ball close to the line, Another great chance went begging moments later when the players looked unprepared and the ball was knocked on, again with the line at their mercy. Would we regret those misses?
West Leeds sensed they may still get something out of the game and continued to threaten, however solid Buffaloes tackling saw them kept at bay. Excellent work from Joe Mathers and Curtis Sidebottom saw Bramley progress quickly up the pitch on the back of quick play-the-balls and Aiden Baranyi was rewarded on 57 minutes with a try in the right hand corner to ease Buffalo supporter’s anxieties. Bramley sensed West Leeds were slowing falling off the pace and captain Brad Wilson capped a fine game with a good try from close range on 62 minutes. Both conversions were missed but the score was now 12-24. West Leeds to their credit were proving determined opponents and the game suddenly took another twist on 70 minutes when Craig Green, not known for his kicking game, put in a grubber kick which took a wicked bounce and the Eagles scored by the posts, 18-24. Suddenly it was game back on. On 76 minutes a huge Eagles bomb was dropped 10m out from the Bramley line, they gathered the loose ball and only desperate Buffaloes tackling kept West Leeds 1m out. West Leeds attacked the line but as they sought to create an opening as the clock ticked down a loose pass was thrown and the Buffaloes came away from their line, Charlie McMurray, another who had a fine game carrying the ball, made an energy sapping 40m break which was then clinically finished in the left hand corner by a limping Henry, The game was closed out almost on the whistle when following more great work by Tom Langton and Tom White, Curtis Sidebottom capped another fine performance with a try in the right hand corner, converted by Henry. Final score 18-34,
A tough game was expected and it was. So following 4 consecutive away games the Buffaloes now have 4 points from 3 games and are right in the mix in the top half of the table.
Dissent and poor discipline needs to be addressed because in all our games so far we have conceded far too many cheap penalties and allowed teams too much ball and field position, That said the referees have been exceptionally poor, with some of the decisions bordering on the frankly ludicrous. However, we have by and large tackled pretty well and with more game time we should improve further as the season progresses.
This week we are at home for the first time this season against the relatively unknown quantity that is Hull Wyke, Looking at their results they should provide challenging opposition, however if we can beat them then we will be up near the top of the table. It’s a 2.30 kick-off so get to the Warrel’s and lets have more support like we did on Saturday to cheer on the Amber and Black – fighting back!. The following week we are away at Garforth Tigers.
Bramley Buffaloes – 1) Aaron Henry, 2) Joe Mathers, 3) Kieran Hudson, 4) Danny Baranyi, 5) Rob Brown, 6) Connor McGill, 7) Brad Wilson, 8) Tom Barraclough, 9) Cameron McLachlan, 10) Charlie McMurray, 11) Tom Langton, 12) Curtis Sidebottom, 13) Tom White, Subs; 14) Danny Steel, 15) Aiden Baranyi, 18) Ben Maynard-Worrincy, 17) Garry Butterfield
Tries – Henry (2, 30 & 77), Baranyi (D) (27), Baranyi (A) (57), Wilson (62), Sidebottom (79)
Goals – McGill (2/4), Henry (1/3)