Skirlaugh Bulls 26 (22) v Bramley Buffaloes 18 (4)
Bramley Buffaloes suffered a third consecutive defeat of them season as their lack of success in Hull continued, going down 26-18 to Skirlaugh Bulls ‘A’ on Saturday.
The Buffaloes 2014 Yorkshire Men’s Premier Division campaign has so far failed to take off due to a variety circumstances, delay in starting the season, three successive away games, injuries, player availability and on the evidence of the game at Skirlaugh, a lack of match fitness. Once again the feeling was that this was not a good Skirlaugh team, certainly not as good as last year, and that they were there for the taking, as Hunslet Warriors and Holderness were the previous weeks. However, in reality it was the Buffaloes who were the poorer team, particularly in a very lethargic first half performance when at one point after 32 minutes they wee 22-0 down and staring down the barrel of a big score.
The game was played in a persistent swirling wind, interspersed with heavy showers and the odd period of sun. Injuries robbed the Buffaloes of Omar Al-Rawi, Sam Nicholls and Gaz Hudson, in their place Kyle Beattie and Nathan Hammond both made their debuts, Alex Cookson returned to the bench and Rick Sumner was also on the bench for his first appearance of the season. Danny O’Connor, Omar and Dave Parker marshalled the team from the sidelines in the absence of Steve Gill.
There was little between the teams in the opening 10 minutes and the Buffaloes looked comfortable. However an innocuous tackle on half-way left Andrew Hepworth in agony on the floor as play progressed towards the Buffaloes line, Bulls centre Stu Smith crossing for a simple score. Andrew Hepworth was led from the field with a broken arm. This is a big loss to lose such a valuable and consistent player, besides losing him for this game and several more. Get well soon Andy. On 19 minutes Bulls full back Jones scored under the posts as the Buffaloes were opened up down the middle. Worse followed as further Bulls scores followed on 28 and 32 minutes, 22-0. At this stage the Buffaloes were looking ragged; they were making little or no impression down the middle with ball in hand and were looking fragile and ponderous in defence.
Daz Forster, Andy Bottomley and Nathan Hammond provided a few promising moments in attack, however, in the main the Skirlaugh defence dealt comfortably with whatever Bramley offered. On 38 minutes Daz Forster barged over from close range after a good run from Bottomley, unfortunately he pulled his conversion wide, 22-4 at half-time.
The second half never really got going as it became increasingly scrappy, interspersed with handling errors and ill-discipline. A wild pass to no-one on 20m from their try-line saw Liam Copland score the simplest try he will ever be gifted, no conversion. Good handling, probably the best of the game by Bramley saw Stevie Suddards and Garry Butterfield combine to put Aaron Blake over for another unconverted try, 22-12 on 64 minutes. Although the Buffaloes had closed the gap points wise, Skirlaugh had somehow managed to squander at least 2 gilt edged try scoring opportunities, suddenly Bramley had a chance of getting something out of the game. Aaron Blake’s spat with Kitchen saw Kitchen get 10 minutes in the sin-bin on 66 minutes to raise hopes further. This hope was extinguished on 70 minutes when the knock-on of all knock-on’s was ‘missed’ by the official and Skirlaugh got a ‘4-pointer in the corner, 26-12. Clearly rattled the Buffaloes lost their shape and the game drifted towards a close but not before Alex Cookson had traded punches with Bulls loose forward Graham, both going to the bin on 76 minutes. Debutant capped a solid debut pouncing on a loose ball to race 30m to the posts for a consolation score, Forster converted. The final score was 26-18; however the Yorkshire League website shows the score incorrectly as 28-18.
Disappointing display; disappointing result. Credit to the lads to sticking to their task and getting back into the game in the second half; that said the first half display was as poor as it has been for some time. At the moment we are not able to lay the platform through the forwards and the backs have not been able to create much. On the plus side we have stayed in every game so far and not been heavily beaten, however we may regret these missed opportunities when the season comes to a close. Steady efforts from Terry Brown, Liam Copland and Nathan Hammond. Aaron came more into the game and posed more of a threat as the game wore on. Daz was well marshalled by the Bulls but still looked our best option to create a chance. Andy Bottomley had another good game at hooker, other than that everyone tried hard without hitting any heights.
Hopefully with a week off now before we take to the field again we will have some of the guys back from injury and spent some time with Gilly and his team working on skills and patterns of play as a team in training.
Next game is our debut at home in a competitive game at Rodley on Saturday 24 May 2014 v Kippax Knights. This has to be a great opportunity to get our season under-way. Get down and support the club and the team, 2.30pm kick-off.
Skirlaugh Bulls ‘A’ – 1) Kiren Jones, 2) Jarrod Hodgson, 3) Stuart Smith, 4) Tom Cutts, 5) Alex Foster, 6) Rob Brown, 7) Rob Blakeborough, 8) Dave Fletcher, 9) Ashley Hedges, 10) Daniel Kitchen, 11) Paul Haworth, 12) Matthew Sheard, 13) Bradley Graham, Subs; 14) Ellis Dooley,15) Jamie McLine, 16) Jack Hazelwood, 17) Garth Storey,
Tries – Smith (10, 28 & 70), Jones (18), Brown (32)
Goals – Blakeborough (3/5)
Bramley Buffaloes – 1) Terry Brown, 2) Garry Butterfield, 3) Aaron Blake, 4) Nathan Hammond, 5) Liam Copland, 6) Ben Dean, 7) Steve Suddards, 8) Anthony Mills, 9) Andrew Bottomley, 10) Andrew Hepworth, 11) Alex Brier, 12) Kyle Beattie, 13) Daz Forster, Subs; 14) Rick Sumner, 15) Alex Cookson, 18) Luke Jackson, 17) Phil Marson
Tries – Forster (38), Copland (50), Blake (64), Hammond (78),
Goals – Forster (1/4)
Men of the Match –
Skirlaugh Bulls ‘A’ – Stuart Smith
Bramley Buffaloes – Daz Forster