Stockport 46 Bradford & Bingley 17
One of the chief reasons for the Bees’ lowly league position has been their inability to acquire bonus points – and this defeat to Stockport was no different.
The Wagon Laners, who are in a three-way scrap for survival with Firwood Waterloo and Percy Park, offered plenty of perspir-ation but were ultimately short on inspiration.
It was always going to be a huge ask for Henry Paul’s side to travel to the second-placed side in the league and come away with a win, but a bonus point must have always been a target.
It was unfortunate then that the Bees visited Stock-port just when the home side hit their best form of the season, running in seven tries to Bradford & Bingley’s two.
The away side were far from disgraced by their performance, especially in the tight, where the pack had their hosts rattled early on and again in the period before half-time.
With the score at 22-10 as the sides turned round, there was still reason to believe the visitors could get something from the game.
However, with a try in the opening minutes of the second period, the home side seemed to extinguish the spark the Bees had earlier shown.
However, for all the good ground work done up front, Bradford & Bingley have only scored more than four tries in four games this season.
It seems unless skipper Brett Mitchell, back-rower Adam Malthouse or centre Richard Tafa are able to get over the line, the Bees have a severe shortage of attacking options to call on.
It was skipper Mitchell, in the first half, who marked another impressive shift in the second row with a score and Tafa came off the bench in the second half to collect the Bees’ other try, with Richard Scull adding the points with the boot.
Scull has been a welcome addition to the Bees back line since his return from Australia but, with Kirk Arundale missing through injury for most of the season and Nick Wainwright only intermittently available, the Bingley side have rarely been able to command a game at half-back this season.
Had the combination of Arundale and Scull been an option for the Bees all season, perhaps they would not have struggled to get their back line firing.
Indeed there were moments against Stockport which showed promise.
New signing Jordan Dav-ies also did very little wrong out on the wing but, with six games left on the ledger there is little time left to turn potential into league points.
Second-from-bottom Bees trail Waterloo by four points and Percy Park by five, with Park also having two games in hand.