On a sultry July evening in York, the relentless charges of a highly mobile Buffaloes team ground down a strong, capable and highly motivated York Acorn side to take the spoils 40-32 in a match that was not for the faint hearted. Defence was not the dominant feature of the match, which saw 13 tries scored, the visitors claiming seven of them.
Both sides looked eager as the game kicked off in front of a good crowd at the well appointed Acorn Sports and Social Club.
The travelling Buffaloes fans were in good voice as usual but there was plenty of encouragement for the home side however the eagerness and atmosphere may have contributed to a nervous start for both teams, York knocking on in the first attack after an expansive break in the first minute, which saw them in the Bramley 25. The Buffaloes responded in like vein before knocking on a minute later.
Back came Acorn with a good break started by creative scrum half Matt Hampshire, which led to a touch down, only to be disallowed for a forward pass. At this stage the Coaches of both sides were urging their charges to cut out the errors, but two minutes later Acorn knocked on again following a smart break.
Back came Bramley exerting pressure on the York line, before the game was again back on towards the Bramley line, Liam Copland pulling off a try saving tackle. The Buffaloes were defending in their own 25 again when the home side knocked on, following a good passing movement through their back line. Yet the game was still only just past the 10 minute marker and was already demonstrating it was going to be a high-octane match.
Acorn was the first on the scoreboard in the 13th minute, with a try from pacey winger Adam Sellers on the left wing following a crisp pass from centre Reece Rushworth.
Stung, the Buffaloes responded in like manner taking the game to Acorn, marked by powerful breaks from second rower Sam Nicholls. A chance was missed with the ball being lost on the Acorn line, but in the 20th minute Nicholls again with a surging drive touched down. Stevie Suddards landed a quality conversion and the Buffaloes had nudged in front 6-4.
Ben Dean was involved in some lively breaks as both sides sought to create some space but it was Acorn who scored the next try in the 32nd minute, Alan Willets touching down to put the hosts back in front 8-6 But the Buffs responded impressively with another powerhouse surge and try from the impressive Nicholls. Suddards converted to take the visitors to a 12-8 lead.
A penalty goal from Acorn’s Hampshire just before the half-time whistle saw the game delicately poised at 12-10 for the visitors.
Both sides returned to the fray for the second half eager to stamp their authority and create some daylight, and it was the Buffaloes who struck the first blow. Great work by Dave Parker, Will Howarth and Sam Nicholls, whose lovely inside pass Bramley captain Dave Parker touched down to increase the visitors lead to 16-10.
Stevie Suddards successful penalty three minutes later extended this to 18-10. Very quickly Bramley were on the offensive again. A break from Will Howarth on the left, supported ably by Nicholls then saw Liam Copland on an unstoppable individual run to touch down increasing the Bramley lead.
At 22-10 behind the hosts were stung into a response, scoring two tries and one conversion to reduce the areas to 22-20. Hampshire’s successful penalty brought the hosts equal at 22-22.
But man of the match Sam Nicholls stifled the Acorn fight back temporarily with another surging run to score, following good work by Ben Dean. With Suddards adding the conversion Bramley were once again ahead at 28-22. In the 70th minute a brilliant run and try from the returning Terry Brown pushed the Buffs further ahead. With Suddards’ conversion Bramley led 34-22.
Minutes later Johnny Bradley scored a well-worked try to take the Buffaloes to 38 points in the match. At 40-22 ahead following Suddards’ conversion Bramley looked to have the game wrapped up. It was hot and both teams were visibly shattered.
The last few minutes of the game were tense for Bramley fans as York threw caution to the wind, scoring two tries, converting one of them, to reduce the areas to eight points at 40-32.
Indeed it was starting to get dark before the final whistle went on what seemed like a long final period of the match. The Buffaloes had showed tremendous flair, as well as grit and resolution against a highly capable York side that were equally determined to enjoy their summer evening in the sun.
There were outstanding performances from Sam Nicholls, Will Howarth. Liam Copland and Terry Brown, but really you could quote the whole Bramley team, who turned in excellent performances.
Perhaps a special word too in praise of Bramley captain, Dave Parker, recently appointed as Ambassador to the White Ribbon Charity, who showed all of his ambassadorial skills in keeping things cool in what could so easily have been a match that boiled over. Well done Ambassador Parker. You can catch Dave in his “Ambassador” role at the Bramley Buffaloes Junior Festival on Sunday 3rd August from 10am, at the Canal Grounds, Rodley.
Final Score : York Acorn 32 Bramley Buffaloes 40 (Half-time10-12)
YORK ACORN: Mark Sanderson, Kyle Brown, Hayden Barber, Reece Rushworth, Adam Sellers, Thomas Mackley, Matt Hampshire, James Bromwich, Nathan Hammerton, Nic Caldwell, Adam Speck, Chris Rushworth, Kevin Brayshaw, Alan Willets, Jack Byrnes, Hayden Nelson, Jack Burgess.
BRAMLEY BUFFALOES: Terry Brown, Gary Butterfield, Nathan Hammond, Matty Harding, Liam Copland, Steve Suddards, Ben Dean, Gaz Hudson, Phil Headley, Dave Parker, Will Howarth, Sam Nicholls, Johnny Bradley, Stu McKenna, Chris Green, Ryan Jackson, Anthony Mills.
Tries – Sam Nicholls x 3, Dave Parker, Liam Copland, Terry Brown, Johnny Bradley,
Goals – Steve Suddards x 6
Man of the match:
York Acorn – Matt Hampshire.
Bramley Buffaloes – Sam Nicholls.