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Bradford & Bingley's fizz goes flat at Rossendale
5:00pm Sunday 17th February 2013 in Sport
Rossendale 31 Bradford & Bingley 18
This game was won by the better side, that much is not in doubt, as aside from the scrum, Rossendale had the upper hand in most departments throughout.
They were excellently marshalled from half back by Steve Nutt and did most things better than their visitors.
After some champagne moments last week, the Bees will be disappointed that their performance lacked much of that fizz they showed against Penrith and can have no real complaints about the margin of victory.
However right at the death a superlative break from Brett Mitchell almost rescued a losing bonus point but the ball dropped out of his outstretched hand as he reached for the line.
There were some positives the Bees can take from this game; Matthew Robinson played very well at full back and always looked for a gap as he joined the line and Matthew Cochrane played well making his debut at hooker coming off the bench. It will not be a game either side keeps in a scrapbook but it is a game that will be remembered for the erratic and eccentric refereeing in the second half.
The Bees Martyn Mitchell spent 15 minutes in the sin bin and Rossendale were stopped three times as they ploughed forwards as the referee blew up for an injury, losing a major advantage each time.
There were howls of protest from the Bees supporters when a clear penalty try was not awarded as the Bees pack demolished the home eight close to the line after the official had seen sufficient reason to award a penalty try to the home side after Adam Wellington impeded a Rossendale player near the Bees try line.
The Bees played down the slope in the first half and skipper Guy Ford ploughed over for his 12th score of the campaign on 20 minutes, with Robinson slotting the conversion.
Nutt landed two penalties either side of that score to keep the game balanced at 7-6 to the visitors. It looked like the Bees might take that slender advantage in with them at half-time until a ball squirted out of the tunnel at a scrum allowing the home No 8 Sam Greenwood to pick up the loose ball and dot down.
Nutt added the extras and just before half-time Robinson slotted a further score for Rossendale to go in 13-10 up.
The home side came out for the second half clearly fired up with the slope helping them plough deep into Bees territory, but against the run of play it was Robinson next on the scoresheet with another penalty, levelling the scores.
On 50 minutes, the home side’s pressure was rewarded as Dan Harrison scored. A penalty from Nutt followed and then the advantage was increased 12 minutes later by the penalty try, converted by Nutt, which stretched the home lead to 28-13.
The Bees began to battle back up field but Nutt was able to stretch the home advantage to 31-13, putting the game beyond the Bees as time ticked down. However the visitors increased endeavour was rewarded as Ford stretched for the line, claiming his 13th score of the season.