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End-of-season air as Bees are beaten
Burnage 18, Bradford & Bingley 17
This had all the hallmarks of a tired end-of-season performance from Bradford & Bingley yesterday in SSE National League Three North.
With all but the slimmest of mathematical chances of involvement in the play-offs remaining, the Bees had little to play for, in contrast for their hosts who still needed vital points to keep them out of the relegation dogfight.
Burnage were the hungrier side throughout and the Bees never seemed to adjust properly to either the un-natural conditions of Burnage’s artificial pitch or to the referee.
Even the Bees forwards seemed unable to take their favourite task of scrummaging as for once this season they never got on top of their opposition and seemed unable to adjust to the timing of the engagement at the scrum as dictated by the official.
Burnage opened the brighter and were soon in front as centre Adam Knight claimed the opening score after 11 minutes.
The lead was increased to eight points on 16 minutes when the same player stepped up to knock over a penalty.
The Bees replied immediately with a Gavin Stead penalty, with the Bees wingman slotting the first of four successful three-pointers.
But the visitors were soon further behind as the home No 8 Oliver Hewitt reached the try line, with Knight’s conversion extending the lead to 12 points.
The Bees pack got the visitors back into good field position, and Stewart Brewer was on hand to collect his fifth five-pointer of the season.
It was 15-8 as the half-hour mark came up but the Bees were unable to keep their discipline and almost immediately conceded another penalty to put the home side ten points clear.
That was the final score of the half and it was all that the home side deserved as they played the better rugby and also seemed to be able to keep their shape better as the Bees found themselves at sixes and sevens, both in attack and in defence.
The Bees won the second half thanks to Stead’s three penalties but, despite the home side losing a man to the sin bin midway through the second period, the visitors never really put together a sustained period of play which could have nudged them in front.
With three games left in their league campaign, on the evidence of this performance it seems that there is now a collective resignation in the Bees side that is time to consign this season to the history books and look forward to next season.