BUFFALOES DOMINATE OUTLAWS TO SECURE FIRST WIN
by Andy Coldrick
Bramley Buffaloes 36 (18) v Nottingham Outlaws 10 (6)
After three consecutive heavy defeats the Bramley Buffaloes bounced back in style as they produced an outstanding all round display in both attack and defence to record a well deserved 36-10 home victory over the Nottingham Outlaws.
It was somewhat ironic that Bramley Buffaloes coach Chris Gardner was able to name his strongest team of the season so far but was unable to witness his team play so well as he had other commitments. There were welcome returns to the starting line-up for flying winger Nicky Fontaine, long serving fullback Shaun Flynn, forward Anthony Ward and second rower Benoit Rogers who made his last appearance for the team in March 2005 at Warrington in a Northern Rail cup game. There were debuts also for Steve Mead at centre and Liam Walsh at scrum half and Shaun Ward at prop.
The Outlaws showed a number of changes from the team that despatched the Lions the week previous and so recorded their second successive victory. There was no Will Reeve, Jens Harris, Christian Brew or Jimmy Goodwin in the backs, whilst in the forwards Dan Reeds and Mike Harrison were missing. Returning to the team though were Oliver Crick at scrum half and player coach Paul Calland on the bench.
Both teams completed their early sets but it was Outlaws who posted the first points on 4 minutes when a kick inside the Buffaloes 10m area bounced wickedly and Oliver Dale was the quickest to react and ground the ball. Moore converted. In the previous three weeks when the Buffaloes had gone behind it had signalled a period of disorganisation leading to an avalanche of points being conceded. However, the hard work Chris Gardner has put in so far looks like it is starting to pay dividends as the Buffaloes re-grouped and after inspirational captain Richard Hulme was held up, record try scorer Shaun Flynn followed up a stabbed kick to the Outlaws posts and scored with ease, Louie Barrett converted. Boosted by their score the Buffaloes grew in confidence and rolled forward on the back of some solid metres made by the Ward brothers, Lumb, Rogers, Hulme and Harrison. Further quality handling from Hulme and Anthony Ward saw livewire scrum half Liam Walsh score by the posts without a finger laid on him. Barrett again converted as he did on 21 minutes when more quality handling at pace saw Flynn release Harrison to score.
Flynn almost scored again on 23 minutes when he broke through but his pass went forward. At 18-6 the Buffaloes were unable to add further points as they turned over too much cheap ball. Likewise the Outlaws driven on by George Strachan, Greg Moore and Oliver Crick were unable to test the Buffaloes defence as they too lost too much ball. No further points were added in the first half although Crick made a terrific break on 39 minutes only to be halted by some outstanding scrambling defence which was an impressive feature of the Buffaloes game throughout.
The Buffaloes started the second half on the attack but lost the ball on a couple of occasions when in good position. Just as it looked as though the Outlaws had ridden the storm Louie Barrett darted over from 10m to score from another kick on 44 minutes. Three outstanding drives and off loads by Hulme and Harrison laid the platform for Walsh to collect the ball 15m out and easily dummy past Cassetari to score under the posts. At 30-6 after 47 minutes the game was slipping away badly from the Outlaws. They were however thrown a double life-line on 59 and 62 minutes when first Buffaloes captain Hulme was dismissed for foul and abusive language and then Nathan Smith got 10 minutes for a swinging arm. Undeterred by this setback Nicky Fontaine produced a sensational defence relieving 40m weaving run which almost produced a magical try. The Outlaws though got their reward when after some inventive handling and a couple of skilful hack forwards, Ward just managed to outpace the covering Reece Spurr to touchdown in the right hand corner. Harrison’s short high re-start was re-gathered by Rogers and tormentor-in-chief Liam Walsh forced the Outlaws to drop-out as the Buffaloes stopped Nottingham getting any momentum into their game. From the drop–out Dave Parker made more good metres going forward before Harrison capped another fine display by scooting over from dummy half from 5m out. Barrett converted his sixth successful attempt at goal for a perfect days kicking. There was still time before the hooter sounded for another Fontaine dash down the touchline and for the Buffaloes defence to scramble on their line and deny the Outlaws more points.
A fine Buffaloes performance from all the players. Their first win of the season which will provide a welcome boost to all concerned before next week’s tricky visit to Valley Cougars. Nottingham will probably be disappointed with their own performance as they looked to build on the back of two encouraging wins, however in truth they were very much second best throughout in this contest.
Game star: For the second week running Graham Harrison picked up the award. As always his performance was top draw, capped off by two well taken tries. However this was very much an extremely satisfying team performance.
Game breaker: Bramley scored two tries within the space of three minutes early in the second half and that gave them due reward for their dominance up to that point. There was no way the Outlaws were going to come back from that deficit on their showing in the game to that point.
Bramley Buffaloes: 1. Shaun Flynn, 2. Nicky Fontaine, 3. Steve Mead, 4. Tom Langton, 5. Reece Spurr, 6. Louie Barratt, 7. Liam Walsh, 8. Antony Ward, 9. Richard Hulme, 10. Sean Ward, 11. Nathan Lumb, 12. Benoit Rogers, 13. Graham Harrison, Subs: (all used) 14. Sam Coates, 15. Dave Parker, 16.Nathan Smith, 17. Ross Peel.
Tries: Walsh 2 (13 & 47), Harrison 2 (21 & 75), Flynn (8), Barrett (44)
Goals: Barrett 6 (6/6)
Nottingham Outlaws: 1. Andrew Cassetari, 2. Coryn Ward, 3. Eddie Shaw, 4. Dom Walsh, 5. Luke Davison, 6. Greg Moore, 7. Oliver Crick, 8. Matt Wylde, 9. Olly Beech, 10. Freddie Humphries, 11. Oliver Dale, 12. Bryn Waldram, 13. George Strachan, Subs; (all used) 14. Jodi Spurgeon, 15. Alex Hazeldine, 16. Will Ephraim, 17. Paul Calland.
Tries: Dale (4), Ward (70)
Goals: Moore (1/1), Calland (0/1)
Final score: 36-10
Referee: Gareth Evans
Penalty Count: 6 (4) – 11(4)
Dismissed: Hulme (Buffaloes), 59 mins – Foul & abusive language
Sin- binned: Smith (Buffaloes), 62 mins – Swinging arm
Man of the Match:
Bramley Buffaloes: Graham Harrison
Nottingham Outlaws: Greg Moore