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Bees win nail-biter to keep the dream alive
Westoe 30, Bradford & Bingley 31
For the second week in succession, Bradford & Bingley ran in five tries as they threw everything into their efforts to avoid relegation from SSE National League Three North.
Last week at relegation rivals Waterloo, five tries was still not sufficient to win the game, but this week at Westoe the Wagon Lane side scraped home by the narrowest possible margin.
The omens were not good as Rikki Sherriffe pulled up with an injury during the warm-up, Benny Greaves having to cross off at the last moment and director of rugby Henry Paul away on business in Australia, but these additional complications only added steel to the visitors' resolve as they faced a Westoe side who had won seven of their previous 11 home fixtures.
The Westoe forwards are not a pack who can easily be pushed off the ball, so the Bees needed to find another avenue to the try-line, rather than their familiar muscularity up front.
The Bees pack delivered a solid performance throughout, with Jason Moss and Si Hill, getting a rare run out in the starting line-up, particularly prominent.
Hill made a number of significant breaks from blind-side flanker and was a handful for the Westoe defence throughout.
Two members of the Bees backline also caught the eye as Jordan Davies and Tommy Kanouros both stepped up and delivered fine performances, both defensively and with the ball in hand.
Kanouros, moving to outside centre after Sherriffe withdrew, showed his ability to step inside and outside his opposite number at pace, which got the Bees on the front foot and over the gain-line on several occasions.
Man of the match Kanouros also picked up a score before half-time to go with the brace from Davies, leaving the match finely poised at 19-18 to Bradford & Bingley at half-time.
The Bees could not get any daylight between themselves and their hosts, and when Hill crossed in the second half, Westoe replied and it was 26-25 to the visitors as the hour mark was reached.
Bradford & Bingley thought the Westoe score was dubious as their winger appeared to have a foot in touch before scoring, but nevertheless the score stood and a final nerve-shredding last quarter was set up.
Hill grabbed his second score, which Westoe matched, and the visitors hung on for a fine win.