Buffaloes lose their way in the snow at Sharlston
Andy & Devon Johnson
Before the kick-off, the sun was out and the Buffaloes looked to have a strong team on the field – including the return of Ben Maynard-Worrincy. It was the Buffaloes’ opening YML league 1 fixture against a good Sharlston side, who came to the match on the back of an unbeaten run in the BARLA cup. Coach Steve Langton, who must have another career as a weatherman, said there would be snow before kick-off and his prediction was very nearly accurate.
Long-time supporters of the club will know that in the past that we have been slightly critical of referees and their inconsistencies. However, we were at first pleasantly surprised by the whistler Darren Maidment who, in turn, gathered each team together to explain the ‘new rules’ and his interpretation of them so everyone knew what to expect. Only time would tell if the referee’s words would be backed up by consistent actions on the pitch during the game…
Sharlston started the sharpest in the opening exchanges and pushed Bramley back into their own half. In the 5th minutes the Buffaloes spilt the ball 10 metres out from the try line and at first, both sets of players looked to the referee to blow his whistle. When no call was made Sharlston seized the opportunity in front of them as they picked up the ball and scored a converted try at the side of the posts: Score: Buffaloes 0 – 6.
In the 12th minute Sharlston were on the attack again following more knock-ons by the Buffaloes. A bout of great defending held the opposing team 1 metre short. Despite this, on the last tackle, the acting half-back went low to burrow under the ‘would be tacklers’ to score. The conversion went wide. Score: Buffaloes 0 – 10.
Although the Buffaloes were 10 nil down, they had matched a heavyweight Sharlston pack throughout this first spell and seized the initiative in the 20th minute. A strong carry by Louis Morrison left the Sharlston pack leaden-footed as he went over the line and grounded the ball despite 4 defenders in the tackle. The conversion by Connor McGill went over. Score: Buffaloes 6 -10
Only two minutes later, the Buffaloes took the lead, and some good inter-passing found the ball go to Lochlan McGill who sidestepped smartly to beat the despairing Sharlston tacklers to score the Buffaloes 2nd try. This was again converted by Connor McGill. Score: Buffaloes 12 -10.
It was at this point that Steve Langton’s weather predictions came into reality with driving hail and snow that came out of nowhere. Our notepad was instantly soaked and the Buffaloes WAGS including Olivia Shillito, Connors McGill’s better-half, were fighting for space under one umbrella!
Despite the hard work of the Buffaloes in gaining the lead, it was Sharlston who made the best of the swirling snow. They managed to score 2 further tries before the break one in the 28th minute and one in the 30th, with one conversion. Half time score: Buffaloes 12 -20.
The second half, unfortunately, was all Sharlston’s, aided somewhat by the referee’s penalty count over a 20-minute spell of 10 to nil in Sharlston’s favour. The referee, who in the first half had a competent display penalising both teams for offside several times, appeared in the second half to be a little less consistent and only noticed the Buffaloes for their offside indiscretions. On one rather bizarre occasion, the referee called the Buffaloes offside before he himself had returned to the Buffaloes defensive line to restart play after a tackle!
Sharlston took full advantage of having more possession and on their very short pitch (just over 80 metres in length) they used several planned moves to successfully score further tries in the 45th, 52nd, 60th and 72nd minutes adding 2 conversions.
In the final 5 minutes, the Buffaloes looked to score after a high kick was knocked on by the Sharlston centre. However, as Connor McGill kicked through with the try line at his mercy, this time – unlike in the first half – the referee decided not to play the advantage and called Connor, who was in hot pursuit of a try, back to give the Buffaloes a scrum!
The Buffaloes collectively battled hard throughout the game and there was no lack of effort, particularly in the forwards but a battle ready Sharlston side had just too much on the day for the Buffaloes first hit out of the season.
Final score Buffaloes 12 – 40 Sharlston
Rovers; 1) Ryan Butterworth, 2) Joshua Beecher, 3) Patrick Harrison, 4) Taylor Martin, 5) Jakob Lupton, 6) Jorge Richardson, 7) Adrian Mulcahy, 8) Gary Smith, 9) Andrew Gallagher, 10) Kyle Littlewood, 11) Liam Kendall, 12) Brendon Gibbins, 13) Sean Markey, Subs (All Used); 14 ) Edward Medforth, 15 ) Benjamin Lyons, 16 ) Sam Whitehouse, 17 ) Stephen Garfitt.
Buffaloes; 1) Jamie Donnelly, 2) Kieran McFarlane, 3) Aidan Baranyi, 4) Bailey Harman, 5) Connor Booth, 6) Connor McGIll, 7) Brad Wilson, 8) Charlie McMurray, 9) Lochlan McGIll, 10) Cameron McLachlan, 11) Thomas Langton, 12) Curtis Sidebottom, 13) Louis Morrison, Subs (all Used); 14 ) Tony Morrison, 15 ) James Doyle, 16 ) Ben Wilkinson, 17 ) Benjamin Maynard Worrincy
Tries: Louie Morrison (20), Lochlan McGill (22)
Goals Connor McGill x 2