In the opening fixture of the 2019 Yorkshire Men’s League Premier Division, Bramley Buffaloes travelled to South Yorkshire to take on last years grand finalists, Bentley ARLFC, writes Martyn Cheney.
The Buffaloes came into the game on the back of four straight wins in the forty20 cup competition, where Bentley had three wins and one defeat in the same competition, losing to Cutsyke in the quarter finals.
The Buffaloes were forced to make a few changes to the team that beat Cutsyke last weekend, with Curtis Sidebottom coming from the Bench to start, and Martin Slack and Ryan Raby making their first appearances of the year.
The Buffaloes also welcomed back Brad Wilson, who was available after missing two games through work commitments.
The game started poorly for the home side when they spilt the ball from the kick-off, and the Buffaloes were on the attack. In the second minute, hooker Jake Barnett thought he’d added to his try tally for the season, but he was held up. From the next play the Buffaloes won a repeat set, but Bentley’s defence held firm.
In the tenth minute, Bentley opened the scoring when standoff Callam Hickling capitalised on a mistake, scoring an unconverted Try, giving the home side the lead four nil.
In the 20th minute, the Buffaloes retaliated with their opening score, in the third repeat set, standoff Connor McGill, lofted a kick, which the Bentley defenders failed to deal with, and Buffaloes Lock, Aidan Baranyi scooped up the ball and was in for the try, with Keiran Foster-Matthews kicking the conversion, giving the Buffaloes the lead four points to six.
On the stroke for halftime, the Buffaloes doubled their lead, when full back Aaron Henry crossed for a try, Foster-Matthews was again on target with the conversion, extending the Buffaloes’ lead at half-time to 4-12.
Two minutes into the second half and Bentley capitalised on a flurry of Buffaloes errors, and full back Alex Bates crossed for the home teams second unconverted try of the afternoon. Reducing the lead to 8-12.
In the 53rd minute the referee had a mad moment when he decided that the Buffaloes had dropped the ball when attempting a kick for touch, just two metres from their goal line and awarded Bentley head and feed at the scrum.
The Buffaloes defended this mistake stoutly, but Bentley got a repeat set and scrum half Jack Craswell crossed the line for another unconverted try, levelling the scores at 12-all.
On the hour mark, and following a raft of penalties, the Buffaloes swung the ball from left to right and Baranyi finished off the move for his second try of the afternoon. Foster-Matthews again converted the try giving the Buffaloes the lead 12-18.
Four minutes later and following an incident ata tackle both sets of players went rushing in and once the players had calmed down the referee despatched one of the Bentley players to the sin-bin and awarded the Buffaloes a penalty.
From the penalty, the Buffaloes player took the drive up to the defensive line and was upended in what the referee deemed to be a dangerous tackle and dispatched another Bentley player to the sin-bin.
While the home team were down to eleven, the Buffaloes set about trying to capitalise on their two-man advantage, but the Bentley defence stood firm and repelled the Buffaloes.
In the 72nd minute, the 12 men of Bentley mounted another attack and Buffaloes defence, after been resolute for most of the afternoon, parted like the red sea, and Substitute, Jonathan Marshall, cross for a try, which looked to be in a kickable position, but the conversion was pushed wide, and the lead narrowed to 16-18.
With eight minutes left on the clock, both teams were looking to break the deadlock, but the defences stood firm to the end of the game.
The Buffaloes came out of the game with a narrow two-point victory over a robust Bentley Team.
The Buffaloes are at home this coming Saturday when they face Siddal RLFC, at The Warrels, kicking off at 2:30.
Bentley: 1) Alex Bates, 2) Tom Barker, 4) Josh Clegg, 4) Paul Ward, 5) Jamie I’anson, 6) Callam Hickling, 7) Jack Craswell, 8) Matthew Wood, 9) Jake Starbuck, 10) Thomas Flounders, 11) Scott Smith, 12) Danny Royle, 13) Robert Baskerville, Subs (all used); 14) Lyndon Staley, 15) Jordan Seaman, 16) Ryan Craswell, 17) Jonathan Marshall.
Tries: Bates, Hickling, Craswell, Marshall
Buffaloes: 1) Aaron Henry, 2) Robert Brown, 3) Peter Croft, 4) Tom White, 5) Kieran Foster-Matthews, 6) Connor McGill, 7) Brad Wilson, 8) Curtis Sidebottom, 9) Jake Barnett, 10) Martin Slack, 11) Tom Langton, 12) Danny Steel, 13) Aidan Baranyi, Subs (all used); 14) Jack Witton, 15) Ryan Raby, 16) Tom Jenkins, 17) Brooke Flynn.
Tries: Baranyi (20, 60), Henry (40)
Goals: Foster-Matthews x 3
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