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Old Brodleians show character to notch fine away win
Wath Upon Dearne 25, Old Brodleians 28
Brods produced one of their best performances in several seasons to overcome top-two side Wath in excellent conditions away from home in SSE Yorkshire Division One.
Not only did they play high-tempo rugby but they also showed great character in coming back to seal the game in the final quarter when it looked like the experienced Wath side were going to take the spoils.
Brods set the scene with an opening burst of pace and skill which almost produced a score for Kris Sharples on the right.
New arrival Loma Kivalu had a storming run, breaking several attempted tackles, and yet it was Wath who took the lead on 12 minutes following a questionable penalty being awarded and Andy Appleyard gratefully took the three points on offer.
The Hipperholme men replied immediately with powerful running and good support from Callum Thompson and Luke Scrimshaw.
Brods were rewarded with a scrum centrefield 20 metres out, and Joe Armitage saw his opportunity, escaped several attempted tackles and jinked his way under the posts to give Danny Wood an easy conversion.
The visitors' confidence was growing. However, they were having trouble with their supply of ball, particularly from the line-out.
Wath have several players who were regulars at Ovenden Park in David Brooke’s succesful sides of a few years ago - Richard Hill in the second row, Joe Bartlett at scrum half and Carl Mortimer at hooker are all engaged as player-coaches and their influence on the pitch is clear to see.
Mortimer and Hill combined at the line-out to provide a good supply of ball to their side all afternoon, and when they were awarded an opportunity some ten metres from the Brods line, the Wath pack drove to touch down and take the lead 8-7.
With five minutes to half-time, Brods immediately replied and took the game back to their experienced opponents.
The Brods offensive defence created havoc in the Wath back line, forcing consecutive handling errors, and a speculative fly hack was chased down by the enthusiastic pack of forwards.
James Brown led the charge and grabbed possession to touch down close to the posts, and Wood again converted for a half-time lead of 14-8.
Brods started the second half in similar fashion, pressurising the Wath backs into errors and, following a poor clearance, Matty Hoyle and Pete Williams combined to return the ball with interest, James Wellington being in support to score wide on the left. wood was again on target from close to the touchline to make it 21-11.
However, Brods were caught offside and Wath took the three points. The referee continued to penalise the visitors and Bartlett showed his strength to pull his side back into the game with a try under the posts.
With 20 minutes to play, the game was in the balance and it looked like the home side would take the spoils against the run of play when their powerful flanker Martin Balshaw broke several tackles and released Steve Mason to score.
The missed conversion left the score at 25-21 in favour of the home side, and it became a real test of the Woodhead men’s character.
Wood missed a penalty from halfway with eight minutes to go and, when given another chance, captain Kyle Millward chose to go for the corner and a line-out on the Wath 25.
The ball was won, the Brods pack drove and gave the home side a taste of their own medicine as Scrimshaw took command and secured the try and a hard-earned bonus point.
Wood’s impeccable kicking continued with the conversion and the large contingent of Brods support celebrated at the final whistle.
Next weekend, Brods entertain Keighley at home.
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