Feeding frenzy as derby ends in stalemate

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford & Bingley's director of rugby Henry Paul is tackled by Morley's Peter Dadswell Buy this photo » Bradford & Bingley's director of rugby Henry Paul is tackled by Morley's Peter Dadswell

Bradford & Bingley 16, Morley 16

Christmas dinner was on the menu for the players afterwards, many Christmas jumpers were in evidence and Bradford & Bingley are off the bottom of the table.

But there was more a feeling of deflation than elation for the Wagon Laners after this SSE National League Three North draw enabled them to climb above Penrith in the table.

While many felt that sharing the points was fair, the Bees were ahead with two minutes left, only to concede a converted try.

Returning scrum half Richard Scull put the hosts in front with a penalty in the sixth minute and, despite Mark Chester levelling six minutes later, two more Scull penalties made it 9-3 before half-time, the second penalty coming when the visitors had flanker Peter Dadswell in the sin-bin for being offside.

Two minutes after the interval came what looked like a pivotal moment. The Maroons looked all over scorers but Bees left winger James Morton gambled on making an interception, pulled it off and ran 90 metres for a try which Scull converted.

In a second half which became incresasingly tense and tetchy, befitting a derby, Chester landed two penalties, one of which came when half-time replacement Tom Hanson was in the sin-bin.

These scores put Morley within a converted try of a draw, and their strong finish gave them the parity which they deserved, full back Kenneth Hirst-Sewell scoring the try and Chester showing his strength of character by landing the conversion from halfway to the right touchline.

The Bees may have climbed to 13th but with three teams to go down there is plenty of hard work ahead for Henry Paul’s team before they can even think of safety.

Bees No 8 Dan Cookson, who is a clubman through and through, said: “We are disappointed at only drawing but our heads haven’t gone down and we feel we can get out of this.

“Henry Paul and Ronnie Kelly have been working hard with us all but we need more players down to training so we can work on things.”

Morley’s head coach Pete Seabourne was more pleased than puzzled at the afternoon’s events, saying: “They got five points off us at our place, so it was a big improvement, but we had five chances to score tries in the second half here and didn’t take any of them.”

His puzzlement was over Bees No 9 Scull being penalised five times by referee Chris Bennett for feeding at the scrum without being sin-binned.

“He should have at least been shown a yellow card,” said Seabourne, “and I will be making that point to the referee.”

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