Is this the win that clinches the Yorkshire One league title?

Bridlington 15 West Leeds 10
Bridlington 15 West Leeds 10

Bridlington stretched their lead at the top of Yorkshire One with a 15-10 win over their nearest rivals West Leeds.

Their victory in the first-versus-second clash was done without two of the main men behind their successful season.

Bridlingotn defend a West Leeds scrum

Bridlingotn defend a West Leeds scrum

Head coach Paul Cook and his second in command Rich Girking were both away, so new forwards coach Shaun Fearn took charge and inspired the troops to grind out a crucial result.

It was a baptism of fire for Fearn, who only began working with the squad after Christmas and only learned he would be leading the team in their top-of-the-table encounter last Tuesday.

“The conditions were appalling for both sides,” said Fearn, a former Bridlington player.

“Brid’s game is usually all about playing the ball wide but we adapted very well and kept it tight for long periods of time.”

Ali Sutton and Matiu Welch combine to stop a West Leeds attack

Ali Sutton and Matiu Welch combine to stop a West Leeds attack

A penalty from Gareth Roberts opened the scoring for the hosts, but West Leeds levelled things up midway through the first half.

It looked like the sides would be all-square at the break, but just before the whistle, Paddy Waines scored a try after a series of pick-and-drives.

Roberts added the conversion and Bridlington were seven points up at the break, but the visitors got back on level terms with a converted try in the second half.

Fearn said: “It could have gone either way but our defence was better and we took control in the set pieces.

“We put a lot of pressure on them and went over the line a couple of times but the referee said we were held up.”

Roberts eventually got the crucial winning try with six minutes to go and despite the missed conversion, and an unsuccessful openalty attempt later, Bridlington held on.

“West Leeds were dangerous but our defence was immense, both backs and forwards knocked them back,” said Fearn, who us likely to remain in charge for this Saturday’s fixture.

“Being 15 points clear doesn’t mean we have won the league, but this was a big step towards it. West Leeds were our closest rivals so it was a game we knew we had to win.

“They wanted to run the ball as much as we did, but we deserved the win.

There are only seven games left in the league campaign and the highest-placed team Bridlington face in their run-in is Old Brodleians, who are fifth, on the final day of the season.

The Dukes Park outfit face two of the bottom three in the next fortnight, with a trip to Yarnbury this weekend, followed by a home game against basement boys Acklam.

“We need the same mentality and commitment,” said Fearn. “The lads were really focussed last weekend and listened to what I wanted pre-match.”