COSTLY ERRORS CONTINUE TO PLAGUE BUFFALOES GAME
by Andy Coldrick
Kippax Knights 52 (30) v Bramley Buffaloes 6 (2)
Kippax Knights secured a comfortable 52-6 victory over the Bramley Buffaloes on Friday night at the Welfare Ground where Knights winger James Cryer and scrum half Phillip Swallow both scored easy hat-tricks. Although the Buffaloes grafted hard as a team and the forwards looked threatening going forward, once again dropped passes and poor plays saw possession surrendered with alarming regularity which ultimately gifted the ruthless Knights far too many easy points.
Chris Gardner’s hopes of fielding a settled team for the Leeds derby against Kippax Knights were left in tatters as his team showed no less than 11 changes from that which competed well for long periods against Featherstone Lions the previous week. A mixture of injuries, work commitments and general player unavailability once again left supporters scratching their heads trying to identify the 4 players making their debuts and 3 other players making just their second appearances of the season. The Buffaloes have now used an eye watering 52 players so far this season and the changes continue to come, no wonder the team shows a lack of continuity in their performances! Despite these changes the Buffaloes were able to welcome back Liam Walsh, Anthony Ward and Benoit Rogers.
Kippax will have counted themselves very unlucky not to have at least got a draw at unbeaten leaders Underbank last week, a game in which they matched Underbank throughout. The Knights made a couple of changes to their team, winger Andy Matthews did not play and there was some re-shuffling amongst the substitutes, otherwise they were pretty much unchanged.
A steady start from the Buffaloes saw them take the lead in a game for the first time this season when Louie Barrett slotted over a penalty on 5 minutes after the Knights had conceded two penalties in quick succession. Speake’s restart was not dealt with and the Buffaloes were forced to concede a drop out. Some solid defence from the Buffaloes kept the Knight’s forwards at bay for two repeat sets before Karl Wilson intercepted a Knights pass on his own 10m line, after juggling the ball he gained control and sent Sean Storie away. A try looked certain as Storie fed O’Mara who passed it back to him, with the line begging, inexplicably the ball was put to ground and a golden chance missed. The Knights re-grouped and on 11 minutes Firth scored an easy try in the corner as winger Walsh was left with a 2-on-1 and Firth had a walk-in. Speake converted. Flynn’s re-start was dropped by the Knights and they dropped out, however their drop-out travelled over 60m and found touch as the Buffaloes failed to attack the ball. Within 2 minutes Cryer had gone over to extend the lead as swift passing caught the Buffaloes right side defence short again and he easily swept passed a helpless Flynn to score. The Buffaloes then got good field position after a Barrett kick was fumbled and only some resolute defence on their own line stopped the Buffaloes getting over. Twice inside a minute the Buffaloes were held up on the line, first Karl Wilson and then Anthony Ward. However as so often has happened this season a loose pass was thrown inside the Knights red zone, which was collected by Swallow who raced over 70m before being hauled down. The Knights had a huge overlap as the Buffaloes forwards struggled to get back and despite looking like trying not to score Swallow eventually did, 18-2 after 20 minutes. In the next 11 minutes the Knights crossed for three unconverted tries. Time and again the Buffaloes were opened up either down the middle (marker defence still not working) or out wide. Flynn uncharacteristically spilled a huge Speake bomb from which Cryer scored to complete a first half hat trick on 27 minutes, Cogan also scored on 31 minutes. Karl Wilson had a drive at the line just before the break; however the ball was lost in the tackle. Half time; 30-2 to the Knights.
Bramley Buffaloes enjoyed possible their best spell of the game at the start of the second half. Anthony Ward was very impressive on his return to the team, making several strong carries and showing good pace. Benoit Rogers limped off after 43 minutes with a leg injury but was able to return later before having to go off again. However on 45 minutes after building some good pressure through decent field position and good passing Sean Storie was able to draw his opposite number and put winger Luke O’Mara over in the corner for a welcome score. There was no conversion. The Buffaloes forced another drop out after further good play and it only looked a mater time before the whitewash was crossed again, Sam Booker, Craig Broadbent and Matthew Brook were all producing runs that were pushing through the Knights defence, however too much ball was being put to ground to produce any meaningful end product. The Knights made the Buffaloes pay a hefty price for not respecting possession when Swallow intercepted a pass on his own 20m line and went all the way to score on 54 minutes. Stalemate ensued for the next 10 minutes as both teams slugged it out in the middle of the pitch but nothing was created. Jones crossed for the Knights eighth try on 67 minutes after the Buffaloes had given away a couple of poor penalties. Chris Knowles broke down the middle and sent Redfearn over unopposed on 72 minutes and Swallow completed his hat trick on 79 minutes after Redfearn had created the opening.
There is no doubt that all the lads who put on the Black and Amber tried hard, however familiar failings were once again on show, poor handling, fitness etc. It was encouraging that for spells in the game we matched a high flying Knights team who at times looked very ordinary. However through our mistakes they capitalised and scored points. Encouraging signs were that our forward caused some problems with ball in hand and made good metres. We looked less threatening in the backs, nevertheless everyone put their hand to keep running the ball in and in the second half we kept the Knights at bay for large parts. Just that at the moment every mistake we make seems to lead to the opposition scoring!
Game star: No surprise that Andy Speake was the game star. He didn’t have his most productive night with his kicking; however his intelligent passing created numerous opportunities for his forwards and backs all night.
Game breaker: At 6-2 down after 15 minutes the Buffaloes were well in the game. Unfortunately like so often this season, one try conceded usually leads to another and the flood gates open. And so it was as the Knights scored 5 tries in a 15 minute spell midway through the first half to move to 30-2.
Kippax Knights: 1. Chris Redfearn, 2. Danny Agar, 3. Dave Jessey, 4. Stuart Biscomb, 5. James Cryer, 6. Andy Speake, 7. Phillip Swallow, 8. Lee Williamson, 9. Mark Boswell, 10. Martin Taylor, 11. Robert Firth, 12. Craig Jones, 13. Craig Oliver, Subs; (all used) 14. Dale Gogan, 15. Adam Withington, 16. Chris Knowles, 17. Paul Brown.
Tries: Cryer 3 (15, 24 & 27), Swallow 3 (20, 54 & 79), Firth (11), Cogan (31), Jones (66), Redfearn (72)
Goals: Speake 3 (3/6), Jessey (1/1), Redfearn (1/1), Swallow (1/1), Cryer (0/1)
Bramley Buffaloes: 1. Shaun Flynn, 2. Vaughan Walsh, 3. Tim Mennel, 4.Sean Storie, 5.Luke O’Mara, 6. Louie Barrett, 7. Liam Walsh, 8. Dave Parker, 9. Ash Taylor, 10. Anthony Ward, 11. Graham Nash, 12. Karl Wilson, 13. Benoit Rogers, Subs: (all used) 14. Craig Broadbent, 15. Sam Booker, 16. Michael Horrocks, 17. Matthew Brook.
Tries: O’Mara (45)
Goals: Barrett (1/2)
Final score: 52-6
Referee: Gareth Evans
Penalty Count: 7(1) – 10(4)
Man of the Match:
Kippax Knights: Andy Speake
Bramley Buffaloes: Liam Walsh