Buffaloes fall at the last second to Batley Boys.
Andy & Devon Johnson
The Buffaloes charged into their second home league game of the season, their confidence riding high after a massive win against Scarborough just two weeks prior.
It was clear from the outset that the team meant business, as Jamie Donnelly caught the ball on his own 20m line after Batley’s last-ditch kick. He sprinted past not one, not two, but three Batley tacklers to score the opening try of the match in the 2nd minute of the game. The crowd went wild as Connor McGill slotted in the conversion, putting the Buffaloes up 6-0 and setting the tone for an exciting game.
The Buffaloes were a force to be reckoned with on both attack and defence, coming tantalisingly close to scoring twice more before the referee made a controversial decision to award a cheap penalty to Batley, putting them in a prime position to strike back. The Johnson’s tackle counts hit five, but the referee gave no indication as the Buffaloes made their 6th tackle. The Batley player stood up to play the ball and pushed the Buffaloes’ defender, who instinctively pushed back. It appears the referee did not see the first push and swiftly gave Batley a penalty closely followed by a red card for Joe Mathers, who was heard to query the decision. Steve Langton’s eyes nearly popped out of his head before the referee realised the colour of the card awarded and quickly changed it, saying he had meant to give a yellow! The referee’s decision shifted the momentum of the game.
The Buffaloes put up a valiant effort, but it was not enough to overcome the loss of their centre. Batley quickly capitalised on the extra man advantage to score a try at the side of the posts 15 minutes into the game, levelling the score at 6-6.
As play continued, Kyle Briggs was calling the shots from his stand-off berth, and the Buffaloes were completely dominant, yet despite their best efforts, they couldn’t seem to catch a break. Twice they were over the line but couldn’t ground the ball to the referee’s satisfaction which was frustrating for the team and their fans alike.
To make matters worse, the penalty count seemed to be unfairly stacked against the Buffaloes. Everyone is focused on protecting players from foul play, but it seemed like the referee was being a bit too pedantic and not evenly applying the rules to both teams. Undeterred, the Buffaloes pushed on. Twice they attempted to pass the ball wide to Kieran Foster Matthews, hoping to capitalise on his speed and agility but were thwarted by Batley’s cover defence as he was bundled into touch. Despite their dominant play throughout the half, the Buffaloes failed to score again.
Half Time: Buffaloes 6 – 6 Batley
The second half mirrored the first with an early try from the Buffaloes. In the 42nd minute, Cameron McLachlan charged forward, setting the stage for Lewis Johnson’s incredible display of power and perseverance. He ploughed forward 20 meters out and scored the Buffaloes’ second try of the game, which Connor McGill promptly converted, bringing the score up to 12-6.
The Buffaloes were once again on top and pressed hard to increase their lead. Following a successful play, Kyle Brigs forced his way over from close range, and the Bramley faithful began to celebrate. The referee, however, called a knock-on after what seemed like an age, leaving the Bramley fans and players stunned.
In the 55th minute, Batley managed to level the score, catching the Buffaloes off guard and tying the game at 12-12.
The Buffaloes continued to make strong breaks and incredible carries, but a try just seemed to evade them.
It wasn’t until the 72nd minute that they managed to inch ahead once more, thanks to a beautifully taken drop goal by Connor McGill, bringing the score to 13-12.
The clock soon showed single digits, and time was running out for Batley to make a comeback.
The Buffaloes regained the ball 25 meters out. With six tackles to go, surely the whistle would be blown before the changeover, and the lads seemed poised to run out the clock and secure a hard-fought victory, but fate had other plans. A knock-on at the play of the ball gave Batley possession. The Buffaloes made five strong and hard tackles, and it looked like they had taken an attempted kick through on the 6fh but were adjudged to have knocked on, and a scrum was awarded to Batley.
With less than 40 seconds on the clock, the Batley stand-off received the ball. He was looking towards his right wing but saw a gap to scamper in for a try that cherished the hearts of the Buffaloes players and fans alike.
It was a tough loss for the Buffaloes to swallow, especially since they had crossed the line five times but were only awarded two tries by the referee. Nonetheless, the team is sure to bounce back from this defeat and put on a great show in their upcoming local derby against Leeds Akkies.
Full-time Buffaloes 13 – 16
Buffaloes: 1) Jamie Donnelly 2) Joe Mathers 3) Lewis Johnson 4) Kasper Morz 5) Kieran Foster-Matthews 6) Kylie Briggs 7) Ethan McFarlane 8) Charlie McMurray 9) Dylan Murphy 10) Cameron McLathlan 11) Jacob Holroyd 12) Bailey Harmon 13) Conner McGill 15) Dylan Mann 17) Elliot Carter 18) Ben Wilkinson 19) Diesel Whalley 20) Jack Boot
Tries Jamie Donnelly (2) Lewis Johnson (42)
Goals Connor McGill x 2
Drop Goal Connor McGill (72)