Bramley Buffaloes were at home to the Minor Premiers, Batley Boys, in their last game of the season, writes Martyn Cheney.
In the reverse fixture earlier in the season Batley Boys put 70 points on the Buffaloes without reply. The Buffaloes were hoping to correct that result, but with this being the third game inside a week we knew this was going to be a tough ask.
There were several enforced changed to the home side, with Kenny Parker dropping out through injury and he was replaced by Martin Slack, who was making his first appearance of the season. Kieran Hudson was unwell so Aidan Baranyi moved to the centres to replace him, and Cameron McLachlan moved up from the bench to play loose forward.
The weather was not ideal for free-flowing rugby and as kick-off approached the rain came down harder, which would make the conditions a lottery for both sides.
The game started brightly enough for the Buffaloes, and in the sixth minute, they thought they had opened the scoring, but the referee ruled that the ball had been bounced in the act of scoring.
The game ebbed and flowed from one end to the other as both teams were pushing and probing each other’s defensive line, looking for the opening, and forcing mistakes as the ball turned slippery in the wet conditions.
Buffaloes Fullback, Aaron Henry, was inventive throughout the game, putting in chip kicks over the defender’s heads hoping to force a mistake and often this was successful, but the Buffaloes were unable to capitalise on these mistakes.
Around the half-hour mark, the Buffaloes team started to tire as the previous week’s exploits started to take their toll and started to drop off tackles.
In the 32nd minute, Batley Boys man of the match, Adam Bingham, threw an outrageous dummy and the gap opened up before him, like Moses parting the sea, which given the weather conditions, was apt.
Bingham strode through the line to score next to the uprights, before adding the conversion to his own try, giving the away team the lead, 0-6.
Three minutes later, and the away team were in again, when Bingham dropped a pass off to Substitute, Josh O’Sullivan, who slid over the line for a try, which Bingham again added the conversion to make the score 0-12.
Just before the break, Aidan Baranyi took on the Batley Boys’ defenders, before passing to Henry, who raced away dancing around the defenders before being brought down, 20 metres away from their line.
From the kick off at the start of the second half, the Buffaloes were on the attack and at the end of the first set of tackles, put in a big kick which Batley Boys took dead, for a repeat set.
On the next set of plays, the Buffaloes ended strongly again forcing a second repeat set. Once the ball had gone dead, there were some injuries, which Buffaloes coach Steve Langton thought were a ploy to waste some time and allow the defenders to get their breath back and take the advantage away from the home team.
Once sufficiently recovered the Batley team took the dropout and caught the Buffaloes on the hop, and Bingham recovered his own dropout, just inches over the ten-metre line.
From the next play the ball, Centre Josh Whitehead broke free of the Buffaloes defenders and raced away to score unopposed under the black dot. Bingham was again successful with the conversion, taking the lead out to 0-18.
In the 47th minute, Rob Brown finished off a scintillating move, where the Buffaloes players defied the weather conditions to pass the ball across the field twice, before touching down in the corner for an unconverted try, narrowing the lead to 4-18.
That was the end of the scoring for the afternoon, but not the end of the action, as the Buffaloes were on the hunt looking for an opening to get back into the game and Batley were looking to kill off any chance the Buffaloes had of getting back into the game.
This lead to some frantic action from both teams and more mistakes as the rain had not let up.
Towards the end of the game, and with both teams tiring, the defenders were making more mistakes and getting lazy in the tackle, leading to more penalties. With a couple of minutes of normal time left the referee, rightly, blew for time, just as things were starting to get a little feisty.
The game ended a respectable 4-18 and considering the efforts the Buffaloes had put in during the previous week, this was a fine result.
Batley Boys, march on as minor premiers into the playoffs, playing against Lindley swifts, who sneaked into the top four on the last day of the season, as results went their way, with the playoff final being at Featherstone Rovers on the 22nd September. while the Buffaloes are starting to plan for 2019, making it a better and bigger season.
The Buffaloes are hosting their presentation night at Bramley Phoenix RFC on 10th November, Tickets are £15 per person and can be bought online or by emailing the club at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for your continued support in 2018. And we look forward to seeing you again in 2019.
Buffaloes: 1) Aaron Henry, 2) Rob Brown, 3) Connor McGill, 4) Aidan Baranyi, 5) Ben Blanchard, 6) Jack Wilson, 7) Brad Wilson, 8) Martin Slack, 9) Jake Barnett, 19) Craig Brown, 11) Tom Langton, 12) Dan Baranyi, 14) Cameron McLachlan, Subs (All used); 17) Ben Maddison, 18) Charlie McMurray, 15) Xavier Martin
Tries: Brown R. (47)
Batley Boys: 1) Josh Scrutton, 2) Johny Marsden, 3) Josh Whitehead, 4) Damon Fletcher, 5) Lewis Hardy, 6) Adam Bingham, 7) Luke Sheridan, 8) Matty Sheridan, 9) Josh Knowles, 18) Rob Garforth, 15) Aaron James, 12) Jordan Brown, 13) Nathan Williams, Subs (All used); 14) Ryan Crossley, 11) Josh O’Sullivan, 16) Gav Davis, 20) Anthony Kellet.
Tries: Bingham (32), O’Sullivan (35), Whitehead (44)
Goals: Bingham x 3