Holderness Vikings 34 (18) v Bramley Buffaloes 24 (18)
Bramley Buffaloes were left frustrated and pointless for the second consecutive week as they once again squandered a potential winning position at league leaders and previously unbeaten Holderness Vikings as they let slip a 6-18 lead to lose 34-24.
New boys Holderness Vikings have started the season in excellent form and have showed that they can score plenty of points, although defensively they have leaked few. The Buffaloes on the other hand travelled on the back of a defeat at Hunslet Warriors, a game that was theirs for the taking. The Buffaloes welcomed back Aaron Blake, Daz Forster, Anthony Mills and Ben Pitts to the team and Ayden Webster made his debut on the right wing.
On a fine and sunny afternoon both teams made a scrappy opening as they failed to complete their sets and turned possession over cheaply. The Buffaloes were the first to post points after good work from Forster, Gaz Hudson and Sam Nicholls, Ben Deans deft pass to Alex Brier saw him go over for a trademark try on 11 minutes. Daz Forster converted. Despite this positive opening the Buffaloes only completed one of their first 7 sets which was a concern for the coaching staff. Vikings hooker and man-of-the-match John McCloud brought them level on 16 minutes running easily through some lacklustre defence. Despite this setback the Buffaloes responded with a good period of sustained pressure. The forwards led by Sam Nicholls were punching holes down the middle and Stevie Suddards kicks were causing panic in the Vikings defence. Andy Hepworth, Daz Forster and Sam Nicholls made more good metres before Ben Dean’s powerful run saw him go over to retain the lead for the Buffaloes on 20 minutes. Rikk Sumner chased down another great Suddards kick to force a third Vikings drop-out on 26 minutes. On the back of this Forster who terrorised the Vikings defence all afternoon, got a wonderful pass away to winger Garry Butterfield who went over in the right corner for a good finish. Daz’s touchline conversion left the Buffaloes 6-18 ahead.
Just like the previous week at Hunslet, the game changed as the Buffaloes suffered set-backs and failed to respond. The Vikings had made plenty of metres down the middle and out wide down there left hand-side. On 30 minutes a blatant Vikings drop ball at the play-the-ball saw the Buffaloes penalised. The Vikings made too easy metres downfield and despite some excellent last ditch defence from Liam Copland, Maston scored a soft try by the posts. Sam Nicholls unfortunately had to leave the field with an ankle injury and despite treatment was unable to return for the Buffaloes – a big loss. The Buffaloes were still holding an inquest into conceding a try when McConnell crossed in the right corner on the stroke of half-time, Grantham’s touchline conversion levelled the score and the tide had well and truly tuned in the Vikings favour.
At half-time Coach Steve Gill rallied the troops and reiterated the game plan to the Buffaloes. The forwards had done really good work, Daz Forster was just unplayable, the backs had gone well on the back of the forwards work and Steve Suddards kicking game, however defensively we were soft down the middle and had never got to grips with the Vikings hooker. Too often we had gone for a ‘big hit’ and failed, a more straightforward 2-man tackle of ‘one downstairs one upstairs’ would have proved more effective.
Vikings started the second half on the front foot and had a try ruled out on 43 minutes for a forward pass. There was little between the teams in the opening 10 minutes. Daz Forster looked to be the Buffaloes most likely way to post points as we seemed to lack the same level of intensity that we displayed at the start of the game. The game though changed radically on 53 minutes when a high tackle on Aaron Blake went unpunished by the referee, a scuffle broke out and Aaron got 10 minutes in the sin-in for fighting. To add insult to injury, the Vikings got them penalty and promptly marched downfield and John McCloud scored again, 24-18. Bramley lost their shape and composure and became quite ragged in their general play. The Vikings did not add any more points; however the Buffaloes posed little threat in attack. Further injuries followed to Ben Pitts (ribs) and Andrew Hepworth (ankle) that further reduced Gilly’s opportunities to change things. Ali McCloud scored another Viking try on 72 minutes, 28-18. To their credit the Buffaloes kept going and responded through another Forster off-load to Butterfield who capped a good performance with his second try. Forster’s superb touchline conversion brought the scores back tom 28-24 with around 5 minutes to play – suddenly it was game on again! Trying to force another score the Buffaloes lost possession and Matty Faulkner scored another soft try to ensure the Vikings unbeaten start to the season continued.
This was a frustrating display as we showed for periods that when we ‘click’ we are as good, if not better, than the opposition. However, once again we squandered a potential winning position mid-way through the first half and came up short. A combination of injuries, poor refereeing decisions, indiscipline and poor decision making have all combined to our downfall. If we can control our discipline and improve our decision making then we will stay in games for longer and are more likely to get our first win sooner rather than later.
Looking forward, we are back in Hull next weekend with a trip to Skirlaugh who seem to be struggling a bit as well. This has to be a great opportunity to get our season under-way. Get over and support the boys, 2.30pm kick-off Saturday!
Holderness Vikings – 1) Dave Suddaby, 2) Lewis McConnell, 3) Tony Grantham, 4) Jamie Maston, 5) James Tripp, 6) Matty Faulkner, 7) George Grassby, 8) Shaun Catt, 9) John McCloud, 10) Steve Gale, 11) Alex Meffen, 12) Jason Hogg, 13) Ali McCloud, Subs; 14) Elliott Davies,15) Ben Faulkner, 16) Chris Toyon, 17) Mark Sansom,
Tries – J McCloud (16 & 55), Maston (37), McConnell (40), A McCloud (72), M Faulkner (79)
Goals – Grantham (5/6)
Bramley Buffaloes – 1) Liam Copland, 2) Garry Butterfield, 3) Aaron Blake, 4) Rikk Sumner, 5) Ayden Webster, 6) Ben Dean, 7) Steve Suddards, 8) Gaz Hudson, 9) Andrew Bottomley, 10) Sam Nicholls, 11) Alex Brier, 12) Andrew Hepworth, 13) Daz Forster, Subs; 14) Phil Marson, 15) Ben Pitts, 18) Ryan Jackson, 17) Anthony Mills
Tries – Butterfield (26 & 75), Brier (11), Dean 20)
Goals – Forster (4/4)
Men of the Match –
Holderness Vikings – John McCloud
Bramley Buffaloes – Daz Forster
by Andy Coldrick