BRAMLEY BUFFALOES 20 HEMEL STAGS 34 – Arthur Miller Stadium, Sunday
Lack of a goal kicker cost the Buffaloes as they missed five conversions and went down to Hemel who maintained their lead at the top of the division.
The Stags – who fielded 16 British players – posted tries a minute either side of half time to take control of a match played in sultry conditions.
The visitors started well when Seb Ward scooted over for his first try on four minutes but soon after Buffaloes were in at the corner when Steven Gill showed deft hands to dummy and fool the Hemel defence.
On 14 minutes Hemel hooker James Phillips burst through some poor defence, Ryan Butcher goaling but in a tit-for-tat exchange Bramley scrum half Chris Boyce nipped over to close the gap to two points.
At the quarter way point the hosts were ahead 12-10, Aaron Blake squeezing through a gap and both sides had further opportunities but poor handling and penalties denied them.
On the half hour mark Bramley’s Graham Harrison was sin binned and seven minutes later Hemel’s Wayne Kelly joined him on the sidelines.
On the stroke of half time Butcher waltzed through the Buffaloes defence and converted his own try making the half time score 16-12.
Straight from the kick off to the second period, Stags prop Aiden Pritchard powered his way over and the home side’s heads seemed to drop.
It took until the 65th minute for the visitors to take advantage, Ward posting his second touchdown and before the hosts could re-group, Barry John Swindells linked from the back for a characteristic score, Butcher landing his fifth goal.
Bramley mounted a mini fight back in the remaining 10 minutes, a beautiful offload by their best Gill to Alasdair Lepper seeing him over in the corner.
With the final play of the game the Buffaloes scored again when Jonathan Bradley picked up a kick get the ball down.
James Woods lined up the conversion which would have given the Buffaloes their third bonus point of the season but his conversion attempt just faded away.
1) Simon Lindsay, 2) Andrew Staniland, 3) Aaron Blake, 4) Tom Langton, 5) Brett Hallas, 6) Craig Locklove, 7) Chris Boyce, 8) Dave Parker, 9) Graham Harrison, 10) Ben Lawton, 11) Graham Nash, 12) James Woods, 13) Steven Gill, Subs (all used); 14) Alasdiar Lepper, 15) Sam Thorpe, 16) Anthony Mills, 17) Jonathan Bradley
Tries: Gill (11), Harrison (17), Blake (20), Lepper (72), Bradley (79)
1) Barry John Swindells, 2) Christian Champion, 3) Eddie M’Barasa, 4) Wayne Kelly, 5) Ash Fryson, 6) Luke Watling, 7) Ryan Butcher, 8) Aiden Pritchard, 9) James Phillips, 10) Guy Aldam, 11) Seb Ward, 12) Tim Thompson-Essex, 13) Ryan Chester, Subs (all used); 14) Dave Hamm. 15) Dave Afreh, 16) Tyler Hirst, 17) Louis Robinson
Tries: Ward (4, 65), Phillips (14), Butcher (39), Pritchard (41), Swindells (69)
Goals: Butcher 5
Men of the match: BUFFALOES – Steven Gill STAGS – Seb Ward
Half time: 12-16
Referee: Steve Race