WIZARDS SECURE VALUABLE WIN OVER BUFFALOES
by Andy Coldrick
Bramley Buffaloes 14 (4) v Warrington Wizards 28 (18)
Warrington Wizards reignited their top 6 chances with a dour, but valuable 14-28 away win at bottom of the table Bramley Buffaloes on Friday night at a rain swept Stanningley. Jono Smith was once again the ‘go to man’ for the Wizards as he poached two tries, kicked four goals and was influential in all the good things the Wizards did.
Nick Fontaine and Graham Harrison returned for the Buffaloes and Des Morris on the wing made a very favourable impression. The Wizards were looking to bounce back from their heavy defeat at Featherstone and having Jono Smith back in the starting line-up bolstered their team no end.
In the first minute when after conceding two penalties in succession the Wizards found themselves defending on their own line. However a loose pass was overrun by Anthony Ward and the Buffaloes were called back for a forward pass. The Buffaloes suffered a further blow on four minutes when prop Hafeez Yesufu had to leave the field with a leg injury, not to return. The Wizards completed their opening sets and a casual punt downfield saw the referee controversially award the visitors a 40/20. From the scrum Jono Smith burrowed through some weak tackling to score.
Poor discipline from the Buffaloes saw them gift the Wizards almost 60m in field position and Smith needed no invitation to go over again on 15 minutes for his second try. Smith converted his own try.
Louie Barrett forced a Wizards drop-out on 21 minutes in rare foray into Wizards territory and it was Barrett who eventually opened up a resolute Wizards defence on 29 minutes when his deft angled kick was collected by Fontaine to race over from 10m. A loose pass on the first set of tackles from the restart saw them lose possession and two plays later Alcock went through the defence to score. Smith converted and kicked a further penalty on 39 minutes to stretch the Wizards advantage to 4-18 at the break.
A strong start at the beginning of the second half looked good for the Buffaloes as they looked to be the first team to score. However, good work from Campbell and Ayres saw Brophy go over in the corner as the Buffaloes defence was exposed again. Smith kicked an excellent touchline conversion. The Buffaloes, through Ward and Parker, were making good metres and both Barrett and Walsh were trying to create openings but the wet conditions invariably saw the ball go to ground. The Wizards were also guilty of some ball handling errors, but by and large their more conservative game plan paid dividends. After what looked like a knock-on the referee waved play on and Barrett dived on a loose ball to score an opportunist try on 51 minutes. On 64 minutes what looked like a clear knock on by the Wizards, which was missed by the officials, saw Walsh score to leave the visitors 8-28 ahead. To their credit the Buffaloes reduced the deficit further to 14-28 on 64 minutes when Fontaine scored again and Barrett converted.
The Wizards secured a valuable three points and were good value for their win as they sought to get their season back on track. Meanwhile, the Buffaloes search for consistency continues. There is no lack of effort but at the moment things just are not happening for them.
Game star: Once again Jono Smith was the Buffaloes tormentor as he has been so often in the past. A superb all round display capped his return to the Wizards team and he was head and shoulders above anyone else on the pitch in terms of performance.
Game breaker: Liam Walsh’s try on 55 minutes gave the Wizards a lead that the Buffaloes did not really threaten to claw back.
Bramley Buffaloes: 1. Duane Platt, 2. Steve Suddards, 3. Nick Fontaine, 4. Sean Storie, 5. Des Morris, 6. Louie Barrett, 7. Liam Walsh, 8. Antony Ward, 9. Hafeez Yesufu, 10. Michael Horrocks, 11. Ash Taylor, 12. Benoit Rogers, 13. Karl Wilson, Subs: (all used) 14. Dave Parker, 15. Craig Broadbent, 16. Graham Nash, 17. Graham Harrison.
Tries: Fontaine 2 (29 & 64), Barrett (51)
Goals: Barrett (1/3)
Warrington Wizards: 1. Carl Lloyd, 2. Hayden Gahgan, 3. Liam Walsh, 4. Darren Forshaw, 5. Troy Brophy, 6. Chris Campbell, 7. Warren Ayres, 8. Nick Owen, 9. Hayden James, 10. Dan Stubbs, 11. Paul Alcock, 12. Paul Reynolds, 13. Jono Smith, Subs; (all used) 14. Billy Sheen, 15. Tom Blaney, 16. Mike Rosson, 17. Anthony Reilly.
Tries: Smith 2 (5 & 14), Alcock (35), Brophy (45), Walsh (55)
Goals: Smith 4 (4/5), Owen (0/1)
Final score: 14-28
Referee: Gareth Evans
Penalty Count: 11(7)- 14 (6)
Man of the Match:
Bramley Buffaloes: Duane Platt
Warrington Wizards: Jono Smith