Yorkshire Division Four Premier: Wibsey 30 Ossett 19

IT IS looking increasingly likely that John Bradbury will have to postpone his retirement as a player.

The 45-year-old prop, back where it started at Wibsey after a long spell with Bradford Salem, admitted after this top-of-the-table clash: “This was going to be my last season but I have said that I will carry on for a season if we get promoted.”

Second-placed Wibsey went into what turned out to be a feisty derby three points behind leaders Ossett, but they finished the game two points ahead of them and now need only 14 points from their last six matches to be assured of playing in Yorkshire Division Three next season.

The hosts trailed 12-5 after 20 minutes and had full back Brad Wright sent off after a full-blown 33rd-minute melee but Bradbury confessed afterwards that he thought the result was never in doubt.

He said: “We had the dominance in the forwards, and definitely in the scrums, and the worst I felt was slightly worried.

“Ossett are a good side but we kept our pods and kept possession and showed more coolness than them, even though the referee could have sent two or three players off from each side.”

A minute’s silence was observed before kick-off in memory of former Wibsey secretary, treasurer and press officer Ray Coppack, and both sides displayed their nerves in the opening phases, with Ossett knocking on at the kick-off and Wibsey failing to take advantage of try-scoring opportunities.

Wright also knocked on early doors and then threw a pass in front of winger Robson Moore inside Ossett’s 22.

Scrum half Kyle Carter decided to take matters into his own hands by breaking blind from a scrum to go over in the sixth minute, fly half Andy Robinson then rather rushing the conversion attempt after the ball rolled off the tee.

Home centre Aiden Batey was sin-binned for a high tackle three minutes later, and two more penalties conceded gave Ossett the impetus to level via a try by lock Ryan Fonquernze.

Fly half Shaun Abson missed the conversion but it was his grubber kick in the 20th minute that brought a try for centre Tom Rogers, with Abson’s conversion putting the visitors 12-5 ahead.

Ossett again knocked on from the kick-off, and Robinson scored Wibsey’s second individual try in the 23rd minute, taking advantage of a good drive by his pack.

His successful kick at goal levelled matters at 12-12 but there was disappointment five minutes later when an Elliott Cousins try was ruled held up when Wibsey’s fellow forwards were adamant that he had scored.

The reprieve was only short for Ossett, however, as a minute later determined prop Simon Birkbeck showed a nifty turn of pace to crash over on the short side to put the Villagers 17-12 ahead from another solo effort.

It was a difficult derby for Dickinson to control and he didn’t always get things right in front of a bigger than normal crowd at Northfield Road, most notably in the 33rd minute when there was a lengthy free-for-all in front of the dug outs.

Ossett prop Robert Maddocks holding Wibsey flanker Joshua Tordoff’s leg and refusing to let go proved the spark that ignited the brawl, which continued despite Dickinson blowing his whistle about 15 times.

Wright was rightly dismissed for running in and throwing a punch but he should not have been the only player to be either dismissed or receive a yellow card, and Dickinson then put his foot down by saying that a maximum of four officials be allowed in each technical area.

Wibsey went into the interval by securing the bonus-point try in the 38th minute via Moore on the right but the game only settled down again when Fonquernze was sent off five minutes into the second half for a high tackle.

The home side’s fans certainly thought there was a bit of poetic justice in the 49th minute when Maddocks was sin-binned for persistently infringing.

A cute offload by Moore put winger Jordan Payton over for Wibsey’s fifth try in the 54th minute, but Ossett were given late hope by replacement Dale Burley’s try 12 minutes later, with Abson’s conversion making it 27-19.

Robinson then calmed home nerves by slotting a 75th-minute penalty, but Ossett were miffed that Dickinson seemed to blow up four minutes early.

Ossett skipper Daniel Buckley, who was their man of the match, said: “The turning point was the first 20 minutes after half-time when we didn’t get much ball, but I think that we were a bit overawed by the occasion with it being a top-of-the-table clash.

“However, I think that both sides will go up as Knaresborough, who were third, will lose matches (as they did on Saturday, going down 12-5 at home to York RI, who went third).”

No 8 Michael Kite was Wibsey’s man of the match.