Bramley Buffaloes fall to defeat against Westgate Common in the season’s opening match.
Andy & Devon Johnson
The excitement was there for the season’s opener after a long winter break, but much of the pre-game talk surrounded the several retirements from the Buffaloes ranks in the close season. I would place on record the thanks of the club and supporters for efforts over the years of long-term favourites that have given notice of their ‘early bath’. These include the Baranyi brothers Aiden and Daniel, top try-scoring crowd favourite Kieran Hudson and barnstormer forward Curtis Sidebottom. You will all be missed, and we wish you good luck in your future endeavours. We hope you don’t become strangers. Unfortunately, added to the retirements were a number leaving to play elsewhere – why I ask? Bramley Buffaloes has therefore decided to reboot the club with just one team this season, predominantly made up of last year’s young and talented A-team players.
You couldn’t find a much harder task for a first hit-up than to face Westgate Common, whose first team were YML Premier Champions in 2022. Westgate’s 1st team game was rescheduled against Brighouse Rangers, which made the Buffaloes task even tougher, as Westgate added 3 or 4 of their first teamers into the mix.
In the opening exchanges, the Buffaloes gave as good as they got, but a couple of refereeing decisions went against them, and in the 8th minute, Westgate opened the scoring. The Buffaloes dug in and tackled the older and more physical Westgate pack well over the next 10 minutes. They had several chances to even the score but didn’t have the cutting edge to breach a well-drilled Westgate defence. Not for the first time, the Buffaloes suffered a series of penalties that put them on the back foot. They should take heart, however, that they limited Westgate to just three further tries in the first half in the 20th, 30th and 40th minute, although one try should never have been allowed. Westgate’s loose forward was hauled down 5 metres short of the line. He then ‘played the ball’ whilst still on one knee, passing it out to the left for the player to score. The loose forward was then supported off the field with a bad knee!
Half-time score: Buffaloes 0 – 20.
The second half mirrored the first, with the Buffaloes pack holding their own for substantial periods. Despite this, a couple of decisions and poor tactical kicking put the Buffaloes under pressure. The Buffaloes had their moments, and it looked like a try was on the cards after powerful runs by Charlie McMurray and Bailey Harmon, but the Westgate defence held out. As the Buffaloes tired, the Westgate first teamers took advantage, and one particular incident summed up the Buffaloes’ bad fortunes on the day. Westgate knocked on, and Brad Wilson kicked through into open territory but failed to gather his kick. Westgate retrieved the ball, and the referee somehow waved play on for Westgate to score. Overall, Westgate ran in 5 tries in the second half in the 55, 60, 65, 75 and 78th minutes with just two goals.
In defeat, the young Buffaloes should bear in mind this was a mighty Westgate side, and for much of the game, it was very even. There are numerous good points to note, particularly in a very disciplined performance against more experienced opponents who were quick to run in and intimidate on every occasion. With the addition of 1 or 2 absentees for next week’s match, I am sure a win is on the cards in the Cup game against Scarborough.
Final score: Buffaloes 0 – 44 Westgate
Buffaloes: 1) Lewis Johnson, 2) Colin Cobley, 3) Dylan Murphy, 4) Jonathan Filin, 5) Joe Mathers, 6) Samuel Marshall, 7) Bradley Wilson, 8) Charlie McMurray, 9) Jack Boot, 10) Ben Wilkinson, 11) Jacob Oldroyd, 12) Michael Wright, 13) Bailey Harman, Subs (all used); 14) Billy Butterworth, 15) Elliot Carter, 16) Thomas Jenkins, 17) Ethan McFarlane.
Westgate Common: 1) Luke Riley, 2) Chris Moran, 3) Lee Kovacs, 4) William Bubb, 5) Luke Green, 6) Connor Hovell, 7) Arian Woods, 8) Harry Shelley, 9) Kyle Hammond, 10) Damion Haldenby, 11) Maddi Bojang, 12) Brad Lowden, 13) Jordan Williams, Subs (All Used); 14) Jimmy McHale, 15) Liam Green, 16) Tyler Hepworth, 17) Jamie Field, 18) John Moran