On a glorious summer afternoon, in weather more suited to spending time on the beach rather than a rugby pitch, the Bramley Buffaloes took on their local rivals Hunslet Warriors in the Yorkshire Men’s League.
For the majority of the game the Buffaloes were once again their own worst enemies, with some poor ball control and falling foul of the referee. That being said the Buffaloes managed to hang on to the Warriors coat tails till the final play of the game.
The Warriors opened the scoring in the 6th minute when centre Antony Martin, broke through some weak defence to score out wide, giving the Warriors a four point lead.
Seven minutes later the Warriors were in again when Martin again went over in the corner, this followed a penalty to the warriors, one of many, which lead to Buffaloes hooker, Jonny Bradley, being sin binned for a professional foul. This time Man of the Match, Richard Wheelhouse, found his kicking range and converted the try, extending the lead to 0-10
Three minutes later the Buffaloes opened their account when Stand off, Omar Al Rawi, finished off a flowing move to score a try, up stepped second rower, Alex Brier, to knock over the conversion, reducing the lead to four points, 6-10.
In the twenty-seventh minute, the Warriors broke through the Buffaloes defence when winger Josh Stevenson caught a floating kick from Wheelhouse, to score an unconverted try to increase the lead to 6-14.
Four minutes later, debutant Matthew Harding, finished off a long-range effort to score a try, with Brier adding the extras, reducing the Warriors lead to two points, 12-14.
In the thirty-third minute Harding was in again for another converted try, with Brier again converting, giving the Buffaloes the lead for the first time, 18-14.
The Warriors started the second half as they did the first, scoring first in the forty-second minute with winger Josh Stephenson capitalising on another Wheelhouse kick and Wheelhouse adding the conversion to give the Warriors the lead again 18-20.
Six minutes later the lead was extended again when Martin went over for his third try of the day following a break from Darrel Gaunt. Wheelhouse was unlucky with his conversion attempt, giving the Warriors a six point lead, 18-24.
Following a water break in the sixtieth minute, due to the hot conditions Buffaloes prop, Anthony Mills, barged his way over from close to the line, for his first try of the season, Brier again was on target with the conversion, levelling the scores at 24 all.
Warriors took the lead again in the sixty fourth minute when Substitute Chris Hartley broke through the Buffaloes defence, for an unconverted try, making the score 24-28.
In the sixty eighth minute, there was a contentious decision which went the Warriors way, much to the surprise of the majority of those present and in the aftermath, Brier was sin binned for dissent to the referee, who to be fair had given him many chances to stop back chatting but to no avail. On the next play influential scrum half Darrel Gaunt nipped through the tiring Buffaloes defence for a converted try, with Wheelhouse adding the conversion, making the score 24-34.
With only twelve minutes left in the game the Buffaloes were desperate to get back in the game and pressed hard on the attack, whilst defending stoutly, to repel the Warriors.
The Buffaloes thought the game was over when Gaunt went over for what looked to be great try, but the referee saw an offence in the build up and disallowed the try. The momentum of the game seemed to be with the Buffaloes. The Buffaloes went close to scoring when Garry Butterfield when on a storming run, only to be dragged into touch, despite his ball carrying arm hitting the ground, the referee deemed that that wasn’t the case and it was a Warriors scrum to restart the game.
In the final minute, the Buffaloes were keeping the ball alive with some quick and dangerous passing, with the ball finally ending with centre Nathan Hammond storming on to a short pass and scoring out wide, Briers, not long back on the field, kick the conversion, to narrow the game to four points, 30-34.
As the restart was about to take place the referee indicated to the players that there was 40 seconds left to play. The kick went deep into Buffaloes territory, and they were on the attack again, throwing wild and dangerous passes to try and get the score to at least level the game.
The ball came loose in a tackle and the warriors players were celebrating, but the referee ruled that they had knocked the ball on first and the scrum was quickly packed, and from the base of the scrum, the ball was passed out wide and Liam Copland raced 20 metres to score in the corner, despite the last ditched effort of the Warriors defence. The pressure was on Brier to kick the goal to give the Buffaloes the win, but this proved too much and the referee blew for time, with the score level at 34 all.
Reflecting on the game, it was definitely a point gained rather than a point lost, but it sets the scene for another great game on Stanningley Park next weekend against West Hull.
Game Breaker: Liam Coplands try on the final play of the game to bring the scores level.
Bramley Buffaloes: 1) Liam Copland, 2) Garry Butterfield, 3) Nathan Hammond, 4) Matthew Harding, 5) Alex Cookson, 6) Omar Al Rawi, 7) Andy Bottomley, 8) Anthony Mills, 9) Jonny Bradley, 10) Gareth Hudson, 11) Alex Brier, 12) Stuart McKenna, 13) Dave Parker, Subs; 14) Luke Jackson, 15) Rikk Sumner, 16) Ryan Jackson, 17) Phil Hedley
Tries: Al Rawi (16), Harding (31, 33), Mills (60), Hammond (79), Copland (80)
Goals: Brier (5 from 6)
Hunslet Warriors: 1) Louis Sharpe, 2) Byron Lee, 20) Lee Dunnell, 4) Antony Martin, 5) Josh Stephenson, 21) Richard Wheelhouse, 7) Darrel Gaunt, 8) Craig Morley, 9) Amraz Hamid, 10) James Woods, 11) Elliot Morgan, 19) Daniel Nicholson, 13) David Robberts, Subs; 14) Rhys Harrison, 15) Danny Leeson, 18) Barry Featherstone, 11) Chris Hartley.
Tries: Martin (6, 13, 48), Stephenson (27, 42), Hartley (64), Gaunt (68)
Goals: Wheelhouse (3 from 7)
Men of the Match:
Buffaloes: Liam Copland
Warriors: Richard Wheelhouse