Pennine League Division Two Central: Birkenshaw Bluedogs 16 Wyke 24

WYKE scrum half Jordan Payton’s astute kicking game sent Birkenshaw Bluedogs crashing to a 24-16 home defeat in their Pennine League Division Two Central derby at East Bierley Playing Fields.

With both teams desperately searching for a first win this term, an early score was vital, and it was the visitors who duly obliged when Payton hacked on from a dropped pass to set up field position for centre Calvin Barker to send his wingman Daniel Worby in at the corner flag.

Local pride dictated the tactics from then on in, with both packs attempting to bash each other into smithereens, with the Bluedogs earning the wrath of referee Bob Ingham with two penalties for lifting in the tackle.

A glorious burst from prop forward Simon Owen ended inches short before his fellow packman Mickey Glenn got the home tally moving with a powerful run to the chalk to level matters at 4-4.

Birky immediately raised the stakes when a neat passing move put centre Danny Graham en route to the whitewash to close the half at 8-4 in their favour.

The boot of Payton took charge on the restart when he produced a pin-point kick to give Barker the chance to sprint to the chalk, and second row forward Brad Clarkson made sure of the extras.

The lively scrum half then repeated the dose shortly afterwards when he hoisted a wicked bomb that caused panic in the home ranks, leaving substitute Ryan Exley to collect and run to the side of the posts for a freebie.

Clarkson made no mistake to gain the extra reward to put the black and whites firmly in the driving seat at 16-8.

Birkenshaw lost second-row forward Ben Kitchingham to the sin bin after another dangerous lift but they made light of their reduced numbers when loose forward Ben Cousen breached the defence with a blindside run to put stand-off Tony Aubrey over to revive home hopes.

Payton had other ideas, however, and he threaded a grubber through the defence to pounce himself, allowing Clarkson an easy conversion, and he was once again on target when Birky were penalised for a shoulder charge.

The Bluedogs had no intention of throwing in the towel, typified by a strong burst that saw hooker Matty Honeysett being held inches short, and they gained a late consolation for their efforts when full back Gary Procter joined the line to dive over at the final whistle.