Buffaloes brush the Crigglestone All Blacks aside in a thoroughly professional display.
Andy & Devon Johnson
After three wins at home in the burning sun, the Buffaloes roamed to new pastures to take on the Crigglestone All Blacks on a damp and humid afternoon. With an eye on next week’s cup final at Featherstone, this away match posed the potential for a banana skin moment. However, fully aware of securing league points, the Buffaloes fielded a robust and determined lineup.
The game’s early moments saw Tom Langton shine as he crossed the try line twice for the Buffaloes. Yet, a bizarre turn of events saw only one of these tries count on the scoreboard. In the 4th minute, Tom showcased his quick reflexes, grounding the ball after Crigglestone fumbled it in their in-goal area. Regrettably, the referee prematurely blew his whistle to signify that the Crigglestone player had caught the ball when, in truth, he made a real mess of it with a knock-on. The wait for the actual first points was short-lived as Tom Langton once again displayed his skill, this time receiving a delightful inside pass and darting through the despairing defence to score in the 6th minute. Despite Connor McGill’s missed conversion, the Buffaloes took an early lead at 4 – 0.
For the next 14 minutes, frustration tinged the Buffaloes’ efforts as they carved out gaps in the opposition’s defence but couldn’t find the final pass to grasp additional points. But everything changed in the 25th minute when the Buffaloes suddenly shifted into top gear. Martin Loveridge emerged as the main architect, delivering inch-perfect kicks, the first of which found Sam Marshall on the right wing. Sam skilfully gathered the ball, evaded his opponent, and cut inside to dash over from 20 meters out. Connor McGill missed the conversion. Scoreline: 8 – 0.
As the rhythm picked up tries flowed at regular intervals. Sam Marshall soared like an eagle to secure his second try, gathering a fifth tackle kick from the adept Martin Loveridge to go over. Connor McGill’s successful conversion widened the gap to 14 – 0.
This prompted Crigglestone to become increasingly more intimidating in their tackles. It was their hooker who was the first of four to cool their heels on the sidelines, when he struck a Dan Booth in the build-up before performing a ‘cannon ball’ tackle in the 35th minute. Seizing the opportunity from the resulting penalty, the Buffaloes launched a swift attack, culminating in a strong finish from Dan himself, who touched down to complete a rapid cross-field move. Connor McGill’s converted try advanced the scoreline to 20 – 0.
Just five minutes later, the Buffaloes were on the attack again. Sam Neave showcased his explosive speed and strength, leaving the tiring Crigglestone tacklers trailing behind as he scored his first try of the match, extending the lead to 24 – 0 after the conversion sailed wide.
The action-packed first half continued as Sam Marshall stole the spotlight again, achieving a hat trick after receiving a pass from the ever-impressive Martin Loveridge, who added the extras, raising the scoreline to 28 – 0.
Undeterred by the remaining seconds, the Buffaloes pushed for one more try before the halftime whistle. Sam Neave showcased his skill once more, gathering a long pass from Lochlan McGill, and raced in to score. The Buffaloes further solidified their commanding lead with Martin Loveridge’s successful conversion.
Half Time score Crigglestone 0 – 36 Buffaloes.
In the second half, the Buffaloes showed their depth by giving some key players a well-deserved rest ahead of next week’s final. Stepping up to the occasion, Ben Wilkinson scored a try in the 44th minute, courtesy of another expertly placed kick from Martin Loveridge. Ben’s determination was evident as he almost snatched the ball from Sam Neave’s hands, eager to cross the try line! The scoreline now boasted a dominant 40 – 0 lead in favour of the Buffaloes.
Crigglestone’s frustrations got the better of them, resulting in two more yellow cards for dissent and an illegal tackle. The Buffaloes maintained their composure and let their rugby do the talking, a truly commendable display and a credit to both themselves and their coaches.
In the 48th minute, Sam Neave secured his second try of the match, finding the ball out wide, and with minimal effort, he glided over the try line. Martin Loveridge’s successful conversion extended the lead to an impressive 46 – 0.
The Buffaloes seemed unstoppable, as the 52nd minute saw a repeat performance, this time from the right centre, Dan Booth. Once again, a beautifully weighted kick from Martin Loveridge set the stage for Dan to race 25 meters and score effortlessly, bringing the scoreline to an astounding 50 – 0.
While controlling the game in the final quarter, the Buffaloes had a momentary scare in the 65th minute when Crigglestone launched a strong run through their prop. However, the referee pulled play back to award a penalty to Crigglestone after the Buffaloes were guilty of a head-high shot in the build-up. Crigglestone were unable to capitalise on this.
Back to their game plan, the Buffaloes soon resumed their attacking prowess. The last score of the match resulted from a determined chase by Billy Butterworth, who eventually grounded the ball behind the Crigglestone defence, with Martin Loveridge’s successful conversion bringing the final score to an astonishing 56 – 0 for the Buffaloes.
The coaches were delighted with the professional display and the attacking efforts shown by the Buffaloes, who registered an impressive 11 tries. Sam Marshall had a standout performance on the wing, securing a hat trick of tries, while Sam Neave matched his efforts, registering three tries of his own. Throughout the match, Martin Loveridge orchestrated the Buffaloes’ moves with his masterful control, leaving the Crigglestone side mesmerised by his last tackle kicks.
Yet, what truly left a lasting impression was the calm and professional way the Buffaloes handled the continuous intimidation from the Crigglestone team. Such an attitude will undoubtedly serve the Buffaloes well in their upcoming cup final in Featherstone. With their confidence soaring and their determination unwavering, the Buffaloes are undoubtedly a force to be reckoned with, and fans eagerly await their performance in the thrilling challenge that awaits them next week.
Final score 0 – 56 Buffaloes
All Blacks: 1) Brandon Asquith, 2) Jonathan Benton, 3) Callam Gamble, 4) Kieran Proctor, 5) David Gibson, 6) Ben Mosley, 7) Martin Robinson, 8) James Griffiths, 9) Lewis Farren, 10) Brody Naden, 11) Thomas Padget, 12) Shaun Smith, 13) Alex Seale, Subs (All Used); 14) Sean Adamson, 15) Frederick Butcher, 16) Jack Crowther, 17) Bradley McDermott, 18) Matthew Greenwood
Buffaloes: 1) Kieran McFarlane, 2) Jonathan Filin, 3) Sam Neave, 4) Daniel Booth, 5) Samuel Marshall, 6) Martin Loveridge, 7) Lochlan McGill, 8) Jacob Oldroyd, 9) Jack Boot, 10) Cameron McLachlan, 11) Thomas Langton, 12) Lewis Gaunt, 13) Connor McGill, Subs (All Used): 14) Kieran Foster-Matthews, 15) Jamie Donnelly, 16) Lewis Johnson, 17) Cameron McGill, 18) Ben Wilkinson, 19) Michael Wright, 20) Billy Butterworth, 21) Bailey Harman
Tries: Langton (6), Marshall (25, 30 & 38), Neave (39, 40 & 48), Wilkinson (44), Booth (35, 52), Butterworth (70).
Goals: Connor McGill x 2, Loveridge x 4