by Andy Coldrick
In only their second home game of a so far of a disjointed Yorkshire Men’s Premier League season, Bramley Buffaloes inflicted a comprehensive defeat on a poor Skirlaugh Bulls team who succumbed to a 52-14 defeat. Instrumental in a dominant Buffaloes performance were Omar Al-Rawi, Aaron Henry, Jack Young, Andy Bottomley and Alex Brier.
This victory, the Buffaloes second successive win, lifted them to sixth in the table, handily placed to get into the top four as they have games in hand, however, tougher challenged lie ahead.
A delay in getting the game started meant kick-off was 25 minutes later than scheduled. The Buffaloes showed a number of changes to the team that won so well at West Hull two weeks previous. A number of players were only playing their second game of the season, including coach Steven Gill who once again named himself amongst the substitutes bench.
Despite the number of team changes, the Buffaloes started in commanding fashion, scoring two unconverted tries inside the first 6 minutes. A Jack Young show and go saw him scythe from some weak defence to score wide out on the left on 3 minutes. Aaron Henry had a try chalked off for a knock-on on 5 minutes, however within a minute Alex Brier had run strongly through a gap and released Liam Copland to cross for his seventh try of the season. Skirlaugh got some possession and playing up the hill had a brief spell of pressure inside the Buffaloes 20m zone, however strong defence kept them at bay. Skirlaugh dropped the ball and Henry hacked the ball downfield before desperate defence saw the ball into touch 40m out. From the resulting scrum Jack Young grabbed his second try with a powerful run from 20m, Henry converted. Skirlaugh knocked-on close to the Buffaloes line on 14 minutes as they strove to find a way into the game, unfortunately for them every mistake they made seemed to lead to a Buffaloes try. Another lost ball saw Henry sprint 50m leaving a trail of would-be tacklers in his wake as he went-in-and-out of tacklers, 18-0.
Al-Rawi and Bradley combined well to put Young in again for a 20 minute hat-trick. Young displayed excellent footwork as he left several Skirlaugh players flat-footed close to their posts. To compound a poor Skirlaugh first half, on 21 minutes they forced a drop-out and Aaron Blake showed good energy and commitment to get to the re-start before any Bulls player could. The Buffaloes sixth try of the half arrived on 29 minutes on the back of an excellent darting run from Andy Bottomley and good awareness to keep the ball alive by Garry Butterfield, Henry collecting the last pass and scoring easily by the posts. On the stroke of half time Kitchen barged over for a consolation try by the posts, Hicks converted.30-6 at half time.
Aaron Henry re-started the second half and Johnny Bradley re-gathered the ball. Three plays later and Henry had strode through a statuesque defence to complete his hat-trick. Kitchen and Al-Rawi both spent ten minutes in the sin bin for fighting at them 45 minute point. The game became scrappy with a string of penalties, drop ball and generally poor completion from both teams. This suited Skirlaugh more than the Buffaloes. Despite some great work in defence from Nathan Hammond, Higginbotham reduced the deficit to 36-10 on 47 minutes. A Drapper try on 56 minutes continues Skirlaugh’s fight-back, however straight from the re-start Omar Al-Rawi got a deserved try following good work from Jack Young. Two minutes later and Andy Bottomley capped a fine all round performance with a stunning try as he broke through the Skirlaugh line and out sprinted the defence to go over from 50m. Kitchen fresh from his spell in the sin bin saw red on 63 minutes for a late challenge. Alex Brier made the Bulls pay when he showed great strength (again) to go over from the resulting penalty. The game though ended abruptly with about 9 minutes remaining, from a scrum a fight erupted and Bradley was sin binned, Russell and Brier were both dismissed for fighting. As a result the referee called the game to an early close in order to save any further unsavoury incidents.
Despite a scrappy second half the Buffaloes were head and shoulders above Skirlaugh who looked a team in disarray for the most part.
Once again Omar Al-Rawi was influential in all the good things Bramley did. His prompting through running good lines, astute passing and kicking was very well supported by the skills of Aaron Henry and the excellent running of Young, Brier and Bottomley. The forwards were solid throughout, but today if was the halves that took the eye.
Bramley Buffaloes – 1) Aaron Henry, 2) Garry Butterfield, 3) Nathan Hammond, 4) Jack Young, 5) Liam Copland, 6) Omar Al-Rawi, 7) Andy Bottomley, 8) Anthony Mills, 9) Johnny Bradley, 10) Ryan Jackson, 11) Alex Brier, 12) Aaron Blake, 13) Dave Parker, Subs; 14) Ben Pitts, 15) Rick Sumner, 18) Stuart McKenna, 17) Steven Gill
Tries – Young (3, 11 & 20), Henry (17, 29 & 42), Copland (6), Al-Rawi (57), Bottomley (59), Brier (64)
Goals – Henry (6/10)
Skirlaugh Bulls ‘A’ – 1) Sam Hicks, 2) Steven Pidd, 3) Jamie Edwards, 4) James Tindle, 5) Gavin Drapper, 6) James Higginbotham, 7) Kieran Jones, 8) Kain Larvin, 9) Ashley Hedges, 10) Daniel Kitchen, 11) Matthew Sheard, 12) Paul Hannah, 13) Brandon Graham, Subs; 14) Ian Russell,15) Jamie McLine, 16) Mick Ness, 17) Jack Hazlewood,
Tries – Kitchen (40), Hiccinbotham (47), Drapper (57)
Goals – Hicks (1?3)
Men of the Match –
Bramley Buffaloes – Omar Al-Rawi
Skirlaugh Bulls ‘A’ – Brandon Graham