For a while on Saturday, Bradford & Bingley’s young rugby union team threatened to record their first league victory since February 2020.

Having been relegated to Counties One Yorkshire, they had the better of the opening 20 minutes against visitors Old Rishworthian and led 6-3, courtesy of two William Marshall penalties, and also forced a goal-line drop-out, but crucially they didn’t score a try.

The same thing happened just before half-time, and the Bees also had the better of the final 10 minutes, scoring their only try via winger Luca De Vittoris when Rish had been reduced to 12 men via three yellow cards.

But what happened in the other 50 minutes was more telling as the visitors, who were missing six players and had had three pre-season friendlies, scored 57 points against Carl Paterson’s pups, who had only had one pre-season friendly and had 25 players unavailable for various reasons.

Sometimes youthful enthusiasm is not enough as the Bees’ losing league sequence stretched to 51 matches since a win over Morley pre-Covid.

What therefore is the short-term solution as the Bees wait to get some of their absentees back?

The answer is for some of the coaching staff to temporarily put their boots back on – Paterson to give some direction at fly half at the age of 44 and possibly assistant coach Ali Macdonald might give the back line some punch at centre.

How many minutes either of them play is open to question, but Paterson feels that that long wait for a win is nearly over.

He said: “We were alright for 20 minutes but then because we had lads playing out of position it started to affect us, and then we were okay again for the last 10 or 15 minutes.

“It was just that dodgy spell in the middle where we collectively stopped, but if we had scored that try before half-time it would have given a little bit of impetus, but we just need to get together this week and carry on.

“There were lads going down with cramp in the second half because they were not match fit, and it might take is a month to get rolling, but we will be all right and we are very optimistic about what we can do and what we are capable of.”

Paterson added: “This is the first season that I can remember where we have started the league season before the schools have gone back, and some sides suffer because of that and some don’t.

“Lads go away with their families etc, and it has bitten us on the backside a bit and I am sure that it has bitten other sides on the backside a bit.

“We might have one or two back next week, and potentially I might be coming out of retirement, but there are loads of permutations.”

On a day when the temperature gauge hit 21 degrees and it was sweaty work just walking up and down the touchline, the Bees started well, posing a real threat to the Rish line.

In a match where it seemed that the side in possession were winning penalties constantly for ‘high tackles’ there was a fear that the game would be dominated by referee Chris Sheryn’s whistle, but the match did soon settle down.

Prop Dan Lightowler went close to a try for the Bees, forcing a goal-line drop-out, but eventually they were forced to take the second-best option and kick penalties, with fly half Marshall landing two, one each side of a Rangy Kui penalty for Rish, with Marshall’s second penalty coming on the back of a yellow card for Rish prop Matty Tooby for a high tackle.

However, an overthrown line-out by the Bees started their slump in the 22nd minute, with Kui scoring a try and converting it, and further tries followed for full back Doug Heseltine and scrum half Arthur Wilkinson, a solo effort, with Kui adding another conversion to make the half-time score 22-6.

The momentum continued to be with the visitors in the second half as they added tries by Heseltine, Kui, replacements Jasper Brown and Oliver Morris and wingers Dillon Hilton and Oliver Marshall, with Kui adding four conversions.

It was only when Rish had three players sin-binned inside the final 10 minutes that the Bees gained the ascendancy again, resulting in that De Vittoris try.

Elsewhere in Counties One Yorkshire, Bradford Salem were thumped 53-24 by West Leeds, but Keighley edged out Hullensians 34-31 in a thriller.

Up in Regional One North East, Cleckheaton lost 25-13 at home to Scunthorpe, while in Counties Two Yorkshire, Baildon beat Yarnbury 31-22.