A poor performance from Bramley Buffaloes saw them slip to a 38-6 defeat at Sheffield Hawks in their first play-off match.
Bramley rarely clicked into gear and paid the price for some sloppy defending, admittedly aided by some perplexing refereeing decisions, leaving the side with another tough away trip to St Albans Centurions next Saturday.
Despite bringing an impressive and vocal travelling support the Buffaloes went behind to two early penalties in the first 10 minutes. A penalty from Shaun Flynn made it 2-4 on 22 minutes but the Hawks hit back almost immediately with a converted try.
Sin-binnings for Richard Greenwood and Simon Bowker did little to help the Buffaloes’ cause and they conceded a second try on 29 minutes and a drop goal just before half-time to go in 15-2 down at the break.
The home side effectively killed off Bramley’s chances with a controversial try one minute into the second-half and added to their total on 48 minutes with a penalty for holding.
At 23-2 the Buffaloes finally started to play and they dominated the next 15 minutes but only notched a single try when Chris Gardner steamrollered his way over on 54 minutes.
The Hawks ended on a high with two late tries, a drop goal and a penalty to give the final scoreline a false look but the Buffaloes added to their woes with a late dismissal for Greenwood.
Buffaloes coach Phil Hellewell was angry with his side’s display: “We never clicked today. We never looked positive with the ball in hand and paid the price. Sheffield attacked with a lot more belief and I am disappointed that we’ve slipped up in this fashion.
“We went into the game feeling very confident but have put in what is arguably our worst display of the season. There has to a dramatic improvement if we are to keep our season alive next week at St Albans,” he added.
Hellewell was once again full of praise for the Bramley supporters: “Once again we had some fantastic travelling support that made their feelings known on more than one occasion. We need that kind of backing again next week if we are to extend our season and keep our play-off dreams alive.”
However in a unique initiative Bramley Buffaloes fans will be able to listen a live webcast of the match by visiting www.hertbeat.com. The kick-off time will be announced later this week.