BRADFORD & Bingley skipper Luke Spaulls has described Ben Hemsley’s red card as "a moment of madness”, as they lost 29-10 at home to Beverley in a game that was there for the taking.

The Bees were trailing their visitors 17-10 in first-half stoppage time of this Counties One Yorkshire clash at Aire View when scrum half Hemsley was given his marching orders.

The hosts had already been given a penalty by referee Brian Brocksom, as Beverley full back Jake Boardman was holding Hemsley’s leg to prevent him from taking a quick tap penalty.

The frustrated Bees half-back then kicked his Beverley opponent, leaving Brocksom with little alternative but to brandish a red card.

With the clock showing 43 minutes, Bees fly half Dom Walker would have had a kick at goal, which could have made the interval score only 17-13 in Beverley’s favour.

Instead, the penalty was reversed and the Bees had to play the rest of the contest a man light.

Hooker Spaulls said: “It was just a moment of madness from Ben. He kicked out in the wrong way as he was being dragged down.

“It was clever of their player, who got a yellow card and Ben got a red, but he is young and he will learn from it, he is a great talent and I am sure that he will come back stronger.

“It was a slight turning point, but we still battled hard for the final 40 minutes and spent 20 minutes in their 22 but couldn’t get on the right end of it.

“We weren’t just thinking losing bonus point as we still had Dom Walker at nine and Will Marshall at fly half.”

Spaulls added: “We were a bit shaky to start with and we had a game plan that we didn’t stick to as much as we should have done - pinning them back in the corners - and it was difficult for us to get out of our 22.

“We missed quite a few line-outs but we will learn from it, and credit to Beverley. Also our discipline was not good, such as chatting back to the referee (which is why prop Alex Leadbetter was yellow carded in second-half stoppage time), but neither was theirs and it just shows it is a game of fine margins.”

Beverley went into the game three places and eight points better off than basement boys Bees, and Spaulls admitted: “We looked upon this as an opportunity to win but we put pressure on ourselves.

“However, there are plenty of positives to take out from it as we stuck in it together for 60-70 minutes and we knocked them off a few scrums.

“There are nine games to go and there is still not much in it between ourselves (10 points), Rish (Old Rishworthians, 18 with a game in hand) and Harrogate (Pythons, 15) and we will give it our best shot.

“We have been underdogs for two years but we like a challenge.”

Beverley, who had to borrow a set of blue kit from their hosts as they had left their own in their clubhouse, made a dream start playing across the river, given the Bees’ first XV pitch was still under water near the changing rooms.

They cut through the middle of Bradford & Bingley’s defence, with an offload from winger Sam Peers putting centre Alex Calvert in for a fourth minute try that fly half Rob Smith converted.

Walker put the Bees on the non-existent scoreboard with a penalty five minutes later from just outside the 22 but they then had to rely on scrambling defence to deny Boardman and Peers before Smith made it 10-3 with a 16th-minute penalty.

Then, having almost conceded a soft try six minutes later, Boardman knocking on beyond the home line, the Bees went 17-3 down when flanker Dan Lee was pivotal in the attack that led to hooker Andy Meagher’s try.

Smith converted the 25th-minute effort, but the Bees were not done, prop Leadbetter scoring after great work by centre Connor Capper, Walker adding an excellent conversion.

Then came Hemsley’s brain fade, which, while not making the home side’s task impossible, did make it several degrees harder.

Winger Jacob Baggs put Smith over for a try four minutes into the second half, and Beverley were always a threat, often only failing because of poor execution.

What slim chance the Bees had was extinguished in the 70th minute when a popped pass off the floor from No.8 Callum Harvey allowed lock Jake Houseman to run 70 metres to cross, Smith’s conversion completing the scoring.

Elsewhere in Counties One Yorkshire, third-placed Bradford Salem laid down a marker in their title challenge with an impressive 23-13 win at promotion rivals Pocklington.

But it was a nervy Keighley who consolidated top spot, as they edged to a gripping 33-29 win at home to struggling Old Rishworthian.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Alfie Seeley flies over the try line to win it for Keighley with nine minutes to go on Saturday.Alfie Seeley flies over the try line to win it for Keighley with nine minutes to go on Saturday. (Image: John Ashton.)

Down in Counties Two Yorkshire, high-flying Baildon were also pushed all the way by their rock-bottom hosts Leeds Corinthians, with the visitors eventually coming away with a 14-7 victory.

Finally, in Regional One North East, Cleckheaton did themselves a huge favour in their relegation battle.

They won a thrilling game 30-26 at home to mid-table Blaydon, and while they are third-bottom in 10th and only five points off the foot of the table, they are now level on points with the two sides immediately above them in the standings, Doncaster Phoenix and Pontefract.