by Andy Coldrick

Bramley Buffaloes Head Coach Steven Gill and his coaching team must have been encouraged by the continued improvement in the Buffaloes team as they comprehensively beat mid table Oulton Raiders ‘A’ at Raider Park on Saturday 0-30. The performance was as comprehensive as the score-line; in fact the Buffaloes should have registered more points. This was the Buffaloes third successive win and moves them into the top six of the league for the first time this season.

Following the good win over Milford Marlins the previous week it was important to back-up with another good performance before the visit of Sirlaugh ‘A’ next week. Therefore I wondered how we would do when I saw key players such as Omar, Aaron Blake and Daz Forster missing. However, any fears I may have had were dispelled by our most assured, confident display of the season to-date, despite two players making their debut, Craig Boot and Aiden Bradley. Oulton have had their own issues to address off the field, nevertheless they had still won three out of their opening five games before today.

There was little between both teams early on before on eight minutes right centre Alex Brier took a pass and raced 40m down the right channel holding off would-be tacklers to score wide out. After missing several games through a leg injury Ben Dean was to the fore moving the team around and it was his deft pass on twelve minutes that put left centre Craig Green into space. Craig made good metres before unselfishly passing to Terry Brown as the cover came across to score. Steve Suddards missed both conversions from wide-out in a swirling wind.

A feature of the Buffaloes game throughout was the hard work done by all the forwards. They tackled relentlessly and then made good metres going forward. Gaz Hudson, Dave Parker and Ben Pitts got through a lot of work closing down Raiders attacks, and it was not until the half hour mark that the Raiders got within 30m of the Buffaloes try line, thanks in no small measure to some aggressive tackling and disciplined defence. Dave Parker and Raiders Jamie Dixon each got ten minutes in the sin bin after a brief altercation in which Dixon came off worst after 24 minutes. This did not disrupt the Buffaloes performance as they stretched their lead. Ryan Campbell’s neat off-load put scrum half Steve Suddards over by the posts for a smart converted try on 27 minutes, 0-14. Terry Brown once again showed his speed as he went 60m downfield from a standing start, however, there was no try this time as full back Luke Richardson did a great job getting back to haul Terry down 20m from the try-line. Four minutes from half-time Brown was not to be denied a second time as her went 70m down the left-hand touchline to score, Suddards added an impressive touch-line conversion. 0-20 to the Buffaloes at half-time.

As expected Oulton Raiders came out for the second half in determined fashion. Whereas in the first half they had been second best throughout, in the second half they upped their work rate and had a real go. That said the half did not start well for them, after giving away a penalty that allowed the Buffaloes deeper into raiders territory, the ball was spun wide and Green took the opportunity to crash over. From the re-start good strong runs from Phil Egan and Aiden Bradley eventually ended with the impressive Jerome Malcolm going 30m down the touchline to score by the post. Suddards converted for 0-30. That was on 47 minutes and there was no further scoring as the game became increasingly scrappy.

Oulton saw more of the ball in the second half and threatened the Buffaloes line on several occasions. However good defence by Bramley ensured that they nilled their opponents for the first time since they won 28-0 at Nottingham Outlaws on 17 July 2010. Bramley did have three tries disallowed in the second half by Dave Parker, Alex Brier and Terry Brown, the last of which was a nailed on try but inexplicably pulled back for a forward pass after another impressive break from Alex Brier.

Craig Boot and Raiders Joe Parkes were both sin-binned with less than two minutes remaining.

This was a hugely impressive win which was acknowledged by the good number of Bramley supporters who had travelled over

This was a very rewarding victory. A good win away from home that showed the week-on-week improvement that the team has been making. By no means the finished article, areas that still need to be worked on are passing, concentration and ball retention, however the work ethic, team spirit and all round general improvement is a testimony to the hard work done by the coaches and players.

Personally I could not select a man-of-the-match as this was very much a team performance; however, I was impressed by all the forwards who really laid a platform for Ben Dean and the backs to work with. Craig Boot looked a real asset to the team, strong and uncompromising. Jerome Malcolm defensively was excellent, making numerous one-on-one tackles and carrying the ball up well. Ben Dean brought some real zip to our offensive play, whilst Alex Brier is just the sort of powerful centre we have needed.

Oulton Raiders ‘A’ – 1) Luke Richardson, 2) Tom Lunn, 3) Zak Schofield, 4) Danny Elston, 5) Jamie Bell, 6) Chris Goulan, 7) Rob Charlton, 8) Joe Parkes, 9) Josh Graham, 10) James Mann, 11) Tom Lunn, 12) Jamie Dixon, 13) Adam Lunn, Subs; 14) Jake Hampshire, 15) Matt Nelson, 16) Nick Leckenby,

Bramley Buffaloes – 1) Terry Brown, 2) Jerome Malcolm, 3) Alex Brier, 4) Craig Green, 5) Liam Copland, 6) Ben Dean, 7) Steve Suddards, 8) Gaz Hudson, 9) Ben Pitts, 10) Dave Parker, 11) Ryan Campbell, 12) Craig Boot, 13) Jonny Bradley, Subs; 14) Aidan Brady, 15) Luke Jackson, 18) Phil Egan, 17) Andrew Hepworth

Tries – Brown (12 & 36), Brier (8), Suddards (27), Green (45), Malcolm (47)

Goals – Suddards (3/6)

Men of the Match –

Oulton Raiders ‘A’ – ​

Bramley Buffaloes – ​Ryan Campbell