North One East: Bradford & Bingley 21 York 39

IN the same way that one swallow does not make a summer, one defeat does not make Bradford & Bingley a bad team.

The Bees had won their first four matches in North One East but ran into a York team that gave their best performance of the season so far, with the hosts dropping one place to third while York rose two spots to sixth in a congested table where only six points separate leaders Scarborough from seventh-placed Malton & Norton.

Every time that Bradford & Bingley threatened to get back in the match, York, who were on the right end of the penalty count, scored.

Bees coach Hugh Gumbs said: “York are a good side but we are a good side.

“We have a lot of players out but we didn’t take our opportunities and that was the difference.

“When it is close and you are on the front foot you have to keep the pressure on and we relieved the pressure.

“In the first half we had opportunity after opportunity and had done all the hard work and committed them to defending for long periods and then gave the ball back when we needed to be a bit more cut-throat.

“We also gave the ball back at the end of the first half when we should have scored and dropped the ball, and you can’t do that against good opposition.”

However, Gumbs can console himself with the fact that his side have a crop of players to come back.

He said: “Last year you could have lost five games and gone up.

“We have only lost one game after four wins on the bounce (earning 18 points) and last season at this stage we had something like nine points and were struggling to get a consistent team out.

“We have good kids coming through and we are a good club that allows young kids to make mistakes as they will only grow.

“We have to grow as the season goes along and we are growing. York have been close against Driffield and Morley but we have another 50 per cent to come and teams will have to catch us rather than us catching them.

“We have nine players to come back – in the front row every position is under scrutiny and we also have players to come back in the second row and back row.

“We had Jack Malthouse, who is normally a 13, playing on the wing and we also have Cameron Bainbridge to come back and James Morton to come back, who is a big animal and is difficult to put down.”

York showed their potency via player-coach Declan Cusack in the third minute, with the fly half’s pin-point cross kick being gathered on the bounce by full back Liam Hessay, who exchanged passes with winger Rob Hodges before going into touch.

The Bees then had sustained possession before conceding a penalty and fly half Lance Taylor missed a ninth-minute pot at goal on a day when his place kicks didn’t quite come off.

Cusack slotted a 14th-minute penalty to give the visitors the lead and York took advantage of another whistle in their favour when replacement George Davies shot through a gap to score a try four minutes later, with Cusack’s conversion making it 10-0.

Taylor put the Bees on the board with a penalty in the 21st minute after a high tackle on No 8 Tom Cummins and slotted another at the end of the half to make it a four-point game.

York, who had lost centre Sam Forbes and flanker Lewis Hannibal to injuries in the first half, must have been expecting a Bees fightback after Gumbs had read the riot act during the interval but the opposite happened.

Two tries in five minutes early doors took the visitors into a comfortable 22-6 lead, with another superb Cusack kick putting winger Sam Elliot over and lock Cade Robinson scoring after good handling.

Cusack converted the first try but the hosts hit back with a Cummins try in the 51st minute following a tap penalty.

Taylor’s break threatened to create something five minutes later but he passed to a York player and seconds later Hodges was over at the other end after good work by prop Charles Scholey.

Visiting flanker Oscar Bell was sin-binned in the 59th minute for kicking the ball back towards his team-mates while in an offside position, but the Bees could only share tries while he was off, with replacement Connor Capper scoring for the hosts four minutes later and Elliot bagging his second six minutes after that.

Lock Kati Tuopilutu bagged Bradford & Bingley’s third try in the 75th minute after skipper Tom Booth had put him away, but York had the last laugh with a second try for Davies five minutes later, with the influential Cusack converting.

One unusual footnote was that referee Graeme Hall sent a Bradford & Bingley spectator - frustrated because the whistler’s repeated warnings did not turn into yellow cards - from the touchline to the verandah for comments about his performance.

Hall said afterwards: “One of the reasons why we are losing referees is because of abuse from spectators.”