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Time runs out again for Bradford & Bingley
Bradford & Bingley 18, Waterloo 19
For the second week running, Bradford & Bingley were thwarted by the referee’s whistle in SSE National League Three North.
This time, however, there was no controversial penalty to stop the Bees crossing for the winning score.
It was simply the blast for full-time which meant the Wagon Lane side took only a single point from the fixture instead of four.
The similarities with the previous week’s defeat at the hands of Harrogate did not end there.
The Bees allowed the visitors to build a comfortable cushion of 16 points with twenty minutes to play and then suddenly came to life to claw their way back into contention but failed to get the final score that would have brought victory.
The first half was a very cagy affair, with a much-improved Bees defence being matched by an equally solid Waterloo line, with neither side really getting much chance to cross the try line.
The only scores were two penalties from Liam Reeve for the visitors and a single three-pointer from Richard Scull for the home side.
The Bees were galvanised into action soon after the introduction of Jason Moss from the bench after 47 minutes.
Waterloo added 13 points to their slender half-time lead of 6-3 in the 15 minutes immediately after half-time.
That initial dominance might be partially explained by the fact that the Bees were a man short as Martyn Mitchell was in the sin bin following an illegal challenge from the opening kick off of the second half, but Waterloo were good value for their lead as their backs had a definite spring in their step.
Both wingmen, James O’Brien and Andrew Trotter, made good breaks as the Bees defence was stretched this way and that after the Waterloo midfield of Reeve, Gary Lunt and Dan King were able to find increasing amounts of space in Bees territory.
Trotter was the only try-scorer during this period of dominance as the men inside him engineered an overlap on the left flank, and a succession of well-timed passes put the flier clear of the Bees defence and free to run round to dot down under the sticks.
From the first scrum once Moss had entered the fray, the whole dynamic of the Bees pack changed, and with it the game.
Where there had been little to differentiate the two eights, and Waterloo had time on the ball to ship the ball away from the tight, suddenly the scrum starting to be an attacking platform for the home side and the rucks and mauls were suddenly very much a positive for the Bees.
The Bees almost abandoned any pretence that the ball would be going anywhere except route one - straight up the middle - as again chief ball-carriers Richard Tafa and Guy Ford bludgeoned their way to the heart of the Waterloo defence.
Adam Malthouse, Sam White and Ryan Wederall all took turns at spear-heading the assault, and it appeared only a matter of time before one of the Bees big men finally got over the whitewash.
The Waterloo line held firm until the 67th minute before Ford barrelled his way over.
With Scull tacking on the conversion, the Waterloo lead was now nine points and surely within reach.
The Bees continued pounding away, and six minutes after their opening try they were over the line again, this time out to the left of the posts as Brett Mitchell burrowed over.
Between the tries, Scull had slotted a penalty so the game hung by a point with fully seven minutes to play.
Waterloo cleared their lines more than once with a huge downfield boot, but the Bees were quickly regrouped within ten metres of the whitewash.
No matter how the hosts huffed and puffed though, Waterloo were somehow equal to the task and held on for victory.
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