What a difference a week makes. Bramley Buffaloes returned home on the hottest day of the year and set their stall out with some sizzling expansive rugby against Nottingham Outlaws, writes Andy & Devon Johnson.
The first two league games of the season were dominated by forwards on narrow pitches favouring the home teams, but on a full-size pitch things were very very different.
Early nerves and a desire to score at any opportunity led to several early missed chances but that all changed on 5 mins with a superb cross-field move involving the tireless Tom Langton, who opened up Nottingham.
The ball was swept through Nathan Hammond to winger Rob Brown who squeezed in at the corner flag. Kieran Foster Matthews missed the conversion 4:0.
On 11 mins the ball was worked away from the Buffaloes half landing in Nathan Hammond’s hands 60 metres out. He looked up-field before charging forward, leaving several defenders in his wake to score half-way between the posts and the corner flag. Kieran Foster Matthews missed the conversion 8:0.
The next 20 mins were rather scrappy with Bramley conceding several needless penalties thwarting their attacks and on the back of three penalties a grateful Nottingham side were piggy backed from their own line and on 31 mins Strachan scored a converted try under the posts 8:6.
This setback stirred the Buffs and on 35 mins, through some enterprising full-back play following a long Nottingham kick, Peter Croft collected the ball on his own 20m line and went around the advancing tacklers before feeding Kieran Foster Matthews fully 60 metres out.
With a fine turn of pace the winger went past the despairing cover tackles to shoot through and score. Connor McGill took over the kicking duties to convert 14:6 at half time.
The second half was dominated by the Buffaloes as injuries and tired legs caught up with Nottingham, who at times struggled to keep a full complement on the field.
Kieron Hudson was the first to score sprinting away past the Nottingham defence to score on the 45th minute converted by Connor McGill 20:6.
To their credit Nottingham didn’t give up and following some poor Buffs defending Strachan scored his second on 53 mins. The try was converted 20:12.
On 58 mins Nottingham were moving the ball away from their own line when met by a dominant Kieron Hudson tackle who clinically stole the ball and ran through to score by the posts, Connor McGill converted 26:12.
On 62 mins, following another of Connor McGill’s superb kicks, a racing Kieran Foster Matthews caught the ball on the wing and beat a despairing tackle by Nottingham’s full back to score. Connor McGill converted 32:12.
The Buffs were now firmly in control and following several drives on the line Cameron McLathlan crashed through on 67 mins. Connors kick this time went wide 36:12.
The next try on 72 mins was orchestrated by Man of the Match Tom Langton who ran straight through the Nottingham defenders before an excellent kick through. Several Buffs were looking to score wide out but Curtis Sidebottom – who immediately before had been on the bench icing a leg injury – popped up to touch down wide on the right. Connors kick went wide 40:12
On 76 Mins Nottingham scored the strangest try of the day following a rare attack. The Buffs were penalised after being caught offside after a ricochet kick and following a series of several knock on’s from both sides the ball was eventually touched down by Strachan for his Hat Trick at the side of the posts.
The large vocal crowd expressed their united displeasure when the referee gave a try. The Nottingham kicker managed to hit the post and missing the conversion – some small justice 40:16.
From the restart on 77 mins Bramley executed a short 10-metre kick which eluded the Buffs attackers but Nottingham then spilled the ball and the quick-thinking Rob Brown gathered it and fed Kieron Hudson who went over for his Hat Trick.
Connor McGill’s kick narrowly missed 44:16.
On 80 mins Buffaloes Connor McGill received the ball on the last tackle in centre field and placed a deft kick across field that found the speedy winger Kieran Foster Matthews who sprinted in at the corner for his well-deserved hat-trick.
Up stepped the crowds favourite Nathan Hammond who from the shadows of the club house put over a towering conversion that ended the game. Final score 50:16.
Buffaloes: 1) Peter Croft, 2) Robert Brown, 3) Kieran Hudson, 4) Aidan Baranyi, 5) Kieran Foster-Matthews, 6) Connor McGill, 7) Brad Wilson, 18) Charlie McMurray, 9) Cameron McLachlan, 16) Ben Worrincy, 11) Tom Langton, 12) Curtis Sidebottom,13) Nathan Hammond Subs (all used), 14) Ben Blanchard, 15) Craig Brown, 8) Daniel Baranyi, 17) Steven Bell
Tries: Hudson (45, 58, 77), Foster-Matthews (35, 62, 80), Sidebottom (72), Brown (5), Hammond (11), McLachlan (67)
Goals: Foster-Matthews 0 from 2, McGill 4 from 7, Hammond 1 from 1
Nottingham: 1) Ciaran Dean, 2) Adam Hemingway, 3) Adrian Chiana, 4) Matt Horner, 5) Peter Vickers, 18) George Strachan, 7) Alex Whittle, 8) Sam Andrews, 9) Harry Walton, 10) Will Ephrain, 11) Sam Dennison, 16) Ali Wauran, 13) Oliver Dale, Subs (all used); 14) Joe Shepherd
Tries: Strachan (31, 53, 76)
Goals: Dean 2 from 3
Man of the Match: Tom Langton