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Bradford & Bingley on wrong end of crucial refereeing decision
5:30pm Sunday 26th January 2014 in Sport
Rossendale 15, Bradford & Bingley 6
When the final reckoning of this difficult SSE National League Three season is undertaken, Bradford & Bingley's fate will probably be decided by the smallest of margins, and indeed a single decision by the referee in the 46th minute deprived them of a deserved losing bonus point.
In awarding a score for Rossendale's centre Tom Albinson, the referee must have been the only person, including the try-scorer himself, who did not see the ball dropped from knee height and short of the try line.
There was little to choose between the sides, and both had the upper hand when playing uphill with a fierce wind whipping from left to right across the Marl Pits pitch, so that one decision was abolutely key in deciding the outcome of a very closely-fought fixture.
Given the conditions, it was surprising to see either side attempting anything other than nine-man rugby, but both tried to get the ball away from the midfield rucks whenever possible.
It looked like the game was heading for a 0-0 stalemate at half-time until Rossendale were awarded a penalty right under the Bees' posts in the 35th minute, which James Bramhall converted.
The Bees shunned a couple of pots at goal and opted for kicks to the corner, which came to nought and, right on the stroke of half-time, the ever-industrious Leyton Taylor galloped over to take the home advantage to eight, and with Bramhall tacking on the extras it was 10-0 as the sides turned round.
Playing up the slope, the Bees sought to take advantage of the swirling wind from the off, with Phil Greaves landing a few telling kicks up the right-hand touchline to pin the home side back in their territory.
Dan Cookson led the charge from the Bees pack as they tried to break through the middle of the home defence, and with Harry Jeffrey and Brett Mitchell making telling runs up the centre of the field, there was always hope that the Bees might turn their endeavour into points.
Unfortunately, the Rossendale defence was equal to the task and, with the benefit of their fortutious score in the 46th minute, the home side just edged it.
The Bees' points came from two Richard Scull penalties.
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