West Bowling 40 Bank Top Harriers 10
The extraordinary dismissal of stand-off Jason Gelder in the half-time interval signalled the collapse of Bank Top Harriers in the Premier Division derby against West Bowling at Emsleys Rec.
The referee had blown to end the first period when both sides started fighting and, after order was restored, Gelder was sent off.
He started to leave the field but suddenly did an about-turn and resumed battle, leaving the match official to reach for the red card for a second time.
The Harriers had started the match looking far from a side that had lost all their matches and were anchored in bottom spot.
Gelder’s tactical kicking put the hosts constantly on the back foot and it was only thanks to a brilliant long pass from scrum half Liam Coe that put wingman Jordan Laban in at the corner to give Wests the lead.
When the Harriers were penalised for ball-stealing, Bowling doubled their advantage by whipping the ball across the line to enable centre Jason Marshall to reach the whitewash.
The visitors promptly upped their game and Gelder drew the cover in fine style to send centre Craig French over and, shortly afterwards, produced a show of strength by twisting out of two tackles to plant the ball over the chalk.
He added a raking touchline conversion to put the game back in the melting pot at 10-8.
Bowling full back Ben Heald showed an electric burst of speed to cross and added the extras before stand-off Liam Darville fooled the defence out wide to touch down in acres of space to close a highly entertaining first half 18-10 in the hosts’ favour.
When the match resumed, Marshall registered his brace and Heald added the conversion before another altercation occurred on the touchline involving Gelder – who had failed to retire to the dressing rooms – and Wests’ second-row forward Jack Milburn, who promptly received his marching orders.
Bank Top wingman Mike Hustler dropped an easy pass from French with the line beckoning as all the shenanigans clearly took their toll and Darville, the consummate poacher, intercepted to race 70 metres under the posts.
He soon followed up with his hat-trick after selling two outrageous dummies and when Laban squeezed in at the corner flag, the referee brought a welcome end five minutes early, leaving the Pennine League disciplinary panel to deal with all the disorder.