On a sweltering Saturday afternoon in West Leeds it was the Buffaloes who turned up the heat with a 14 try demolition of Gateshead Storm to win 68-6.
A gallant Gateshead side, ravaged by injury, battled bravely throughout but failed to stop a Bramley team that was intent on victory in a game dedicated to the memory of long-time Bramley fan Laurie Keough and sponsored by the Old Vic, Laurie’s favourite pub.
Chris Gardner started the rout after just a minute finishing off from close range after a good break by Ryan Taylor. Gardner was in the thick of the action again on 10 minutes when his drive and intelligent off load set Simon Bowker free to score.
Mark Butterill and Ryan Taylor increased the agony for Storm with two tries in three minutes on the quarter hour mark with the latter a devastating break from his own half. Luke Sellers notched the home side’s fifth try with a great example of opportunism on 20 minutes.
Giant Aussie prop Tim Orr got in on the act with a brace of tries shortly after and Scott Pendlebury compounded the North East side’s misery by galloping over to score on the half hour. Three conversions from Chris Gardner left it 38-0 at the break.
Another great crowd of 565 at Stanningley didn’t wait long for the Buffaloes’ next score with Dan Mitchell surging through a gap on 41 minutes to touch down but Gateshead hit back with some stout defence and inventive attacking play.
An excellent try by Ian Summers on 55 minutes, converted by Ryan Taylor, saw the Buffaloes hit the 50 point mark but Storm notched a well deserved score from John Coffey, converted by Rob Jones on 64 minutes.
Four tries in the last 12 minutes from Taylor, Kieran McDermott, Gareth Barker and Paul Cummings finished off the scoring with Taylor collecting the man-of-the-match for a personal points haul of 14.
Buffaloes coach Phil Hellewell was pleased with his side’s display but insisted they must up the tempo in time for next Saturday’s visit to table toppers Warrington Woolston: “We were lucky enough to build up a good foundation in the first 20 minutes and it meant the players could enjoy the game a bit more.
“Gateshead never gave up and despite having a number of injuries they competed to the end and tested us at times particularly in the second half.
“Our sets worked out well and I’ll be interested to see our completion rate but there were still niggling mistakes and knock-ons that cost us a few further points.
“We now have the two toughest games of the season at Warrington next Saturday and then at home to Bradford Dudley Hill on August 14th. We have to step up the tempo if we are to have a chance of finishing in the top four,” added Phil.
The Buffaloes are expecting another bumper gate for the big one, the visit of Bradford Dudley Hill on August 14th – a match that will go a long way to determining where Bramley end up this season.