by Andy Coldrick 

Bramley Buffaloes 6 (0) v Kippax Knights 62 (34)

The gulf in class and fortunes of these two clubs was ruthlessly exposed on Wednesday evening as the Kippax Knights cruised to a very comfortable 6-62 victory over Leeds neighbours Bramley Buffaloes and so secured second spot in the league. Displaying all the cohesion and confidence that their excellent season so far has delivered, they were too strong in every facet of the game for the Buffaloes who fought gamely but never really threatened to push the Knights once fullback Dodd had been dismissed on 34 minutes.

This was the game that was previously postponed from round 2 when the Buffaloes were unable to raise a team. It is worth noting that as a result of this game taking place that this will be the first season for some-time that all RLCN fixtures will have been completed in a season without any games being awarded and fixtures unfulfilled.

As in the previous 16 rounds there were several new faces in the Buffaloes team. This week another 4, namely Stephen Taite, Dean Muir, Simon Bolton and Chris Bates, taking the Buffaloes tally now to 74 players who have worn the shirt so far this season! Kippax fielded a strong looking team and made only a couple of changes from the team that thrashed Warrington at the weekend. They came into the game brimming with confidence as befits a team in second place on an impressive run of form, knowing that victory would secure second spot in the league and a visit Huddersfield Underbank in the play-off qualifying semi final.

Bramley immediately forced a Kippax drop-out from the kick-off but nothing came of the resulting play. A clash of heads on 5 minutes saw Buffaloes Karl Wilson leave the field dazed and confused. Kippax posted early notice of their impressive power in the forwards when Steve Scott took a pass at pace and scythed through some paper thin tackling to rampage over from 20m after 7 minutes. Speake added the first of his 9 conversions, finishing with a personal tally of 22 points on the night. Following that try the game settled down and for the next 20 minutes it was a tight affair. Kippax looked likely to score every time they had the ball irrespective of where they had it; they frequently opened up the Buffaloes down the middle with their purposeful running and crisp passing. Only a combination of some desperate tackling and the odd misplaced pass kept Kippax scoreless at this point. Meanwhile the Buffaloe forwards were running hard and making some impressive metres. Jason Dodd was having another big game at fullback, making powerful forward runs, crunching tackles and timely interceptions. Liam Walsh was also looking sharp and he had a great run on 10 minutes that almost produced a try, however good Knights defence snuffed out any chance. Bramley were very much in the game at this time; however a loose pass on the Knights 40m line saw the ball hacked forward by Jones and only great cover defence by Tom Stuckey denied him a sensational try. Bramley were penalised on 27 minutes on half way symptomatic of the difference between the teams was clearly displayed as Kippax took a quick tap and Paul Brown caught the retreating Buffaloes defence cold and scored easily. This score seemed to damage the Buffaloes resolve as they then imploded in double quick time. On 32 minutes Craig Jones broke the line after more slick passing to score and this was followed 2 minutes later by Cryer scoring a try very similar to the one Danny McGuire had ruled out at Wigan recently. Dodd vented his frustration at the referee’s decision not to award a knock-on and was dismissed, 0-22. At this point the game was up for Bramley as they conceded 2 incredibly poor tries in the final two minutes of the half as both Cryer and Brown scored again.

Bramley started the second half in determined fashion as Nick Fontaine, a threat all night, looked for a hole in the Kippax defence. However as so often this season, after a promising period of play soft tries were conceded. First Scott strode away to score on 47 minutes followed by Speake, both converted. The Buffaloes temporarily stopped the deluge of points as they got their hands on the ball and just as their spectators were wondering whether they might be nilled, a superb Fontaine kick to the corner saw Stephen Taite touchdown under pressure from the covering Kippax defence. Graham Harrison added a terrific touchline conversion, 6-46. The respite did not last long though as the Knights responded with three more tries from Matthews, Charles, who chased a hacked forward kick to win the race to touchdown in the corner and finally Eastham who went 50m down the opposite touchline to score.

The result was never in doubt given how the teams have performed this season and both will be looking forward to the end of the season for vastly different reasons. If this had been a boxing match it would have been a huge mis-match and stopped after 40 minutes! Kippax look strong and powerful and could well make the Grand Final based on their current form; however Coach Danny Burton may well have been concerned that his team conceded 16 penalties in a game that was never physical or dirty. For Buffaloes Chris Gardner there is just one game remaining (Hemel at home), before he can draw a line under the most difficult season imaginable, take stock and start to plan in good time for 2012.

Game breaker: Three tries in seven minutes between 27-34 minutes, including the dismissal of Buffaloes fullback Jason Dodd who was playing really well, sealed the result for the Knights.

Bramley Buffaloes: 1. Jason Dodd, 2. Nick Fontaine, 3. Tim Mennell, 4. Stephen Taite, 5.Tom Stuckey, 6. Dean Muir, 7. Liam Walsh, 8. Ash Taylor, 9. Graham Harrison, 10. Ben Cousins, 11. Graham Nash, 12. Karl Wilson, 13. Benoit Rogers, Subs: (all used) 14. Ross Peel, 15. Simon Bolton, 16. Trevor West, 17. Chris Bates.

Tries: Tait (52)
Goals: Harrison

Kippax Knights: 1. Danny Agar, 2. James Cryer, 3. Stuart Biscomb, 4. Andy Eastham, 5. Andy Matthews, 6. Andy Speake, 7. Aaron Dobek, 8. Lee Williamson, 9. Paul Brown, 10. Adam Biscomb, 11. Steve Scott, 12. Rob Firth, 13. Craig Oliver, Subs; (all used) 14. Gavin Adkin, 15.  Adam Withington, 16. Dave Charles, 17. Craig Jones.

Tries:Scott 2 (7 & 47), Brown 2 (27 & 40), Cryer 2 (34 & 38), Jones (32), Speake (49), Matthews (55), Charles (61), Eastham 70)
Goals: Speake (9/11)

Half-time: 0-34
Final score: 6-62

Referee: Christopher Kendall
Penalty Count:16(8)-7(5)
Dismissed: Dodd (Buffaloes), 34 mins

Man of the Match:
Bramley Buffaloes: Liam Walsh
Kippax Knights: Adam Biscomb

Next game: Sunday 4 September 2011
Competition: RLCN
Opponents: Hemel Stags
Venue: Home
Kick-off: 2.30 pm