by Andy & Devon Johnson
On a gloriously hot and sunny afternoon, the Buffaloes A side took the field at home to Brighouse Rangers in a determined mood.
It took them only five minutes to open the scoring, when left centre Sam Neave cut inside and went like a knife through butter past the Brighouse cover tacklers before going over the whitewash for a lovely try. The conversion went wide; Score Buffaloes 4-0.
In the 10th minute, the Buffaloes went further ahead with a fine cross-field move that saw the Buffaloes stand-off Lewis Johnson jink inside to glide past the Brighouse defence and go over for a try that he also converted; Score Buffaloes 10-0.
After some end-to-end play, coach Cam Leeming, who had a powerful performance, left the Brighouse defenders in his wake as he went in for the Buffaloes third try of the afternoon; there was no conversion; Score Buffaloes 14–0.
Due to the heat, the referee allowed a drinks break after the first quarter, which appeared to refresh the Brighouse side, who came up with their first try in the 25th minute. Although the Buffaloes defended well for five tackles on their own line, they failed to cover the Brighouse hooker, who, on the last tackle, dove in to score from a metre out. The conversion was added; the score Buffaloes 14-6.
The Buffaloes still looked the much livelier side and, despite the heat, were constantly looking to attack. In the 35th minute, Tony Morrison went in for their fourth try of the match. Unfortunately, the conversion went wide; Score Buffaloes 18–6.
Just before the break, Ben Blanchard went in for an opportunist try. The move started 40 metres out, and the ball found Sam Marshall, who sprinted down the right wing and looked likely to score until the Brighouse full backhauled him down just metres from the line.
The ball came shooting out forward from the tackle, and winger Ben Blanchard picked it up to score. The Brighouse side claimed there had been a knock-on, but the referee’s decision was that Brighouse had stolen the ball, and the try was awarded; There was no conversion; Score 22-6.
Half-time Score Buffaloes 22-6.
The break appeared to rejuvenate Brighouse, who were the first to score in the 45th minute when their hooker once more managed to bury his way over from a metre out for his second try; Score Buffaloes 22 10.
Coach Cam Leeming came back on the field and, within a minute, he went in for his second try of the afternoon in the 50th min; Tony Morrison converted; Score Buffaloes 28 – 10.
Credit to the Brighouse side, who regrouped and took the initiative away from the Buffaloes, who looked at times to be trying a little too hard to score. The comeback was on. Within six minutes, Brighouse scored three tries in the 66th, 68th and 72nd minutes, two of which were converted, bringing the score to Buffaloes 28–26.
After 75 minutes, coach Cam Leeming came back on for one final effort (perhaps sensing the danger), and the effect was immediate. As the Brighouse prop ran the ball out, Cam completed an audacious ball steal in the tackle and ran 20 metres to score his hat-trick try; Score Buffaloes 32–26.
If the Buffaloes were hoping this try would finally extinguish the Brighouse fight back, this wasn’t to be. Brighouse kicked off, and the ball went over the waiting Buffaloes defender and bounced towards the try line. Brighouse reacted the quicker of the two sides to regain possession and score close to the posts. Score Buffaloes 32-30.
The Buffaloes knew they had just to see out a final couple of mins, but the kick-off went into touch from a Buffaloes hand, and Brighouse regained possession. Not for the first time, the referee, who was often distant from play, missed a suspiciously forward pass, which led to a further Brighouse try; Score Buffaloes 32-36.
The Buffaloes, who had led throughout the game, were behind for the first time with just injury time left, and they tried to mount a last-gasp attack, but a knock-on in the tackle left Brighouse to claim what throughout the match looked an improbable victory.
Credit, though, goes to all 34 players for their non-stop performance on a scorching afternoon. Buffaloes coach Cam Leaming was the stand-out player for the home side.
Full-time score: Buffaloes 32 – 36 Brighouse Rangers .
Buffaloes line-up: 1) Jonah Stansfield 2) Liam Bailey 3) Sam Neave 4) Sam Marshall 5) Ben Blanchard 6) Lewis Johnson 7) Tony Morrison 8) Ben Wilkinson 9) Mikey 10) Billy Butterworth.
Buffaloes defeated despite defiant first half at Almondbury Spartans
The Buffaloes travelled for their first ever visit to Almondbury Spartans, and on arrival, comments were made about how the severely sloping pitch would favour the home side. These comments proved to be absolutely accurate in the final reckoning.
The Buffaloes played downhill in the first half. Still, Almondbury had the far greater share of the ball due to the Buffaloes either losing the ball or to their regular infringements resulting in penalties against them.
That said, the Buffaloes defended their line well, defusing several last-tackle-bombs. The pressure, however, began to tell from the 25th minute onwards when young full-back Kasper Mroz had to leave the field permanently due to what appeared to be a painful knee injury.
Although the Buffaloes regrouped, Almondbury went in for their first try after 25 minutes. Score: Buffaloes 0–6.
The Buffaloes tried hard to work their way downfield. But with very little ball, these attacks proved to be very infrequent. There was one very promising attack of note in the first half, but unfortunately, the Buffaloes wingman was forced into touch by the Almondbury cover tacklers.
Just before the end of the first half, an Almondbury player ran the ball in, and multiple buffalo players supported one another in the tackle.
Unfortunately, Lochlan McGill took a knee to the head during this tackle and suffered a concussion striking him out of play until a full medical assessment was complete. Cameron McGill was also awarded a yellow card after the brief altercation. This left the Buffaloes with 11 men, yet there were to be no further points in this half.
Half-time score: Buffaloes 0 – 6.
The second half was completely dominated by Almondbury, who knew exactly how to take advantage of the slope. Their first try came in the 41st minute when their winger was put through and romped away to score. This was repeated in the 45th, 50th and 55th mins for four converted tries. Score: 30–0.
As the second half played out, the Buffaloes sideline looked like a scene from A&E. Kasper and Lochlan were already finished for the match. They were joined by Bailey Harman, who picked up a knee injury. Brad, who went over on his ankle, and Tony Morrison, who suffered an injury as he kicked through on the last tackle and fell awkwardly.
Despite playing with severely reduced numbers, the Buffaloes stayed strong and prevented any further tries throughout the last 25 minutes of the game, yet they had little opportunity to attack.
With five minutes left on the clock and the Buffaloes down to just 9 men, coach, Cam Leeming, asked the referee if he would blow for time in the 85th min. The referee declined, saying we legally had enough players to continue, and he would only stop the game if the Buffaloes were down to eight.
The remaining nine showed steely determination and could have easily scored a consolation try if not held just short of the line on multiple occasions.
Overall, the Buffaloes suffered following their efforts in the first half, which left them with little energy in the tank playing up the slope. Almondbury used their superior player numbers and local knowledge of the pitch to their advantage. An Almondbury Facebook message after the game summed up the afternoon: ”Great game, the boys toughed it out against an aggressive Bramley side.”
Let’s wish all our injured players a speedy recovery and hope they have enough time to lick their wounds and regroup with no games over the next two weekends. Special mention to the Buffaloes player of the match Louis Morrison, who had been in his sick bed all week but still ran in hard throughout the match, turning his blood to water.
Final score: 0-30
1) Kasper Morz, 2) Sam Marshall, 3) Cameron McGill, 4) Kieran Hudson, 5) Lewis Johnson, 6) Connor McGill, 7) Brad Wilson, 8) Louis Morrison, 9) Lochlan McGill, 10) Jacob Oldroyd,11) Tom Langton, 12) Thomas Welford, 13) Bailey Harman, 14) Tony Morrison, 15) Charlie McMurray. 16) Charlie Raistrick. 17) Ben Wilkinson.