YML Trophy

25/05/2024, 14:30

Moldgreen ARLFC


Bramley Buffaloes

Match Report

Buffaloes secure semifinal victory over Moldgreen to reach the YML final for the second year running

Andy & Devon Johnson

The Buffaloes travelled to Moldgreen in Huddersfield to face what could be their toughest opponents of the season in their bid to secure a spot in the Yorkshire Men’s Leagues Final for the second consecutive year. The Buffaloes coaches had to make some tough choices during the week to select the best 17 players for this crucial cup tie, resulting in the absence of one or two familiar faces from the strong lineup.

Before kick-off, the Division 2 side Moldgreen appeared very confident, but the Buffaloes, playing as underdogs, were unfazed, having already defeated Castleford from Division 2 in the quarter-final stage. Energized by a strong contingent of supporters, the Buffaloes aimed to repeat their cup final experience and right a few wrongs from their 2023 final.

In the early stages, the teams seemed quite evenly matched. Moldgreen fielded a big, strong pack, whereas the Buffaloes had a younger, more agile pack and talented backs. The Buffaloes made their breakthrough in the 14th minute when Sam Marshall received a wide pass on the right and sprinted past the Moldgreen defence. Lewis Gaunt stepped up to add the extras, bringing the score to Buffaloes 6 – 0.

The lead was short-lived, however, as just a minute later, the Moldgreen scrumhalf finished off a close-range effort after the Buffaloes failed to secure the kick-off, levelling the score at 6 – 6.

At the half-hour mark, the Buffaloes hit a purple patch with two tries from returning speedster Eliah Chitiyo, who proved too hot for Moldgreen to handle. His first try came from 60 meters out when he received the ball in open space and danced around half the Moldgreen team before dotting down. Lewis Gaunt added the extras. Eliah scored his second try in the 37th minute by once again outpacing the opposition, although this time, Lewis missed the conversion, making the score Buffaloes 16 – 6.

Moments later, Eliah looked poised to score a potential third try but was cynically taken out with a high tackle on the halfway line as the try line beckoned. The Moldgreen player had only one intention and the headshot seemed nothing but deliberate to the crowd. Despite this season’s rule adjustments, Danny Tindall (the referee) only awarded a penalty and a yellow card instead of a red.

With just two minutes left in the half, the Buffaloes needed to secure the kick-off to maintain their 10-point lead. However, they failed to deal with it successfully, and a ball steal by Moldgreen led to a quickly converted second try, bringing the score to Buffaloes 16 – 12.

Half time: Buffaloes 16 – 12

Within seven minutes of the second half, the Buffaloes found themselves behind for the first time. A perfectly timed kick-through was regathered by Moldgreen, who raced to the line, turning the score to Buffaloes 16 – 18. Before the Buffaloes could catch their breath and regroup, Moldgreen struck again with a soft try directly from a scrum, pushing the scoreline to Buffaloes 16 – 22.

This setback only ignited the Buffaloes’ fighting spirit and spurred them back into action. Sam Neave become increasingly prominent as Moldgreen, despite their lead, began to look very tired. The try that brought the Buffaloes back level was simply stunning. Sam Neave jinked past a Moldgreen defender and slid a flat pass to Eliah, who charged in for his hat-trick try under the posts. Lewis Gaunt stepped up to convert, evening the score at 22 – 22.

Ten minutes later, the Buffaloes seized the lead again. An electrifying attack saw Same Marshal burst through the cover from 30 meters out, dodging defenders to score out wide. Though Lewis Gaunt missed the conversion attempt, the Buffaloes were ahead at 26 – 22.

The Moldgreen pack, exhausted, resorted to dubious tackling. Lewis Gaunt suffered twice, first from a very late hit after passing the ball, and then, almost at full time, from what appeared to be a deliberate forearm to the jaw. The initial diagnosis by the Buffaloes physio suggested a potential broken jaw but hopefully, this isn’t the case. All our best wishes go to Lewis for a swift recovery.

In the final stages, the Buffaloes maintained their grip on the game and showcased their dominance. Moldgreen had two potential scoring opportunities: their fullback, after breaking clear, ended up going around in circles to escape Elaih’s relentless pursuit, and their loose forward wasted time complaining about a high tackle with the line at his mercy.

As the clock ran down, the Buffaloes skilfully managed the game, jubilantly finishing as winners and booking a cup final appearance against Illingworth on July 20th at Batley. The Buffaloes’ superior fitness and teamwork simply drained the life out of their heavier somewhat immobile opponents, who had clearly underestimated the potential of the lower-division Buffaloes and had no plan B when plan A failed to work.

Final score: Buffaloes 26 – 22

Buffaloes: 1) Omar Al-Rawi, 2) Eliah Chitiyo, 3) Bryn Perrett, 4) Sam Marshall, 5) Kieren Foster-Matthews, 6) Connor McGill, 7) Sam Neave, 8) Jacob Oldroyd, 9) Jack Boot, 10) Cameron McLachlan, 11) Tom Langton, 12) Cam O’Connor, 13) Lewis Gaunt, Subs (all used); 14) Bailey Harman, 15) Louis Morrison, 16) Zane Ballantyne, 17) Ben Wilkinson.

Tries: Marshall (14 & 68), Chitiyo (30, 37 & 56)

Goals: Gaunt x 3


Name TR CON PEN DG Cards
2 3
4 2
8 Yellow Card
13 3


Name TR CON PEN DG Cards