Bridlington wrap up league title with victory at Keighley

The champagne is uncorked after Bridlington won the league
The champagne is uncorked after Bridlington won the league

Bridlington RUFC secured the Yorkshire One title on Saturday with a 25-11 victory at Keighley.

Brid travelled to West Yorkshire knowing victory would see them crowned as champions, and coincidentally it was at Keighley the last time the Dukes Park club sealed the title.

Celebrations in the dressing room

Celebrations in the dressing room

The side contained many changes again as people returned from weddings or stag parties which had disrupted proceedings in the previous weeks for Bridlington coach Paul Cook.

There were also several players in the forwards who were unavailable or injured.

Ryan Girking returned to captain the side and play alongside centre partner Jamie Martin, allowing Gareth Roberts, Ben Johnson and Gary Stevens to make up a powerful and speedy back three.

Ali Sutton was injured so Chris Young came in for a start in the engine room.

Paddy Waines makes a break

Paddy Waines makes a break

Keighley kicked off with the breeze at their backs and Jimmy Thompson caught and Otis Floyd cleared.

Keighley drove from the line-out before spreading the ball wide, the overlap was created and a score looked on until Johnson read the situation and intercepted and galloped 60 metres to score and make it 5-0 on five minutes.

Brid made a hash of the kick-off and a penalty was awarded for offside which Brown converted well.

The visitors kicked off and a good chase saw Keighley kick to Roberts, who returned it with interest, and chased well and earned a penalty.

A Keighley player faces the whole Bridlington pack

A Keighley player faces the whole Bridlington pack

Matiu Welch kicked for the corner and Brid drove the line-out,

Martin carried, then the ball was taken on by Young and Gary Heeley and Keighley came offside so Welch put Brid 8-3 up with the penalty.

Brid didn’t learn from the first kick-off and with a lack of communication they made an error and Keighley were awarded a penalty, which Brown converted.

The away side kicked off well and when Roberts gathered a clearance kick he again kicked well, giving Brid territory but a lost scrum let Keighley off the hook.

Jamie Martin makes a tackle

Jamie Martin makes a tackle

Keighley were gaining momentum from some of Brid’s poor rucking and their winger broke free only to be stopped by Roberts, Brid countered but again lost possession, this time from a couple of poor line-out choices.

Heeley put in a good tackle to halt Keighley in attack but they earned a penalty at the breakdown but Brown was off target with his kick.

Brid earned good field position and Thompson took the line-out, Heeley and Paddy Waines made ground and gained a penalty in front of posts, but Welch missed the kick.

Brid were struggling to put phases together as a mixture of poor rucking and the hosts slowing the ball down, which stopped any continuity until Girking broke and Martin carried it forward but the ball was spilled near the line.

Keighley kicked off well and from a knock-on attacked but a knock-on from the hosts allowed the dangerous Roberts to break free. Support arrived from Josh Thundercliffe and Thompson before Welch cantered over to make it 13-6.

Thompson, Waines and Young carried well but another knock-on saved the hosts.

Chris Young breaks from a lineout

Chris Young breaks from a lineout

Brid were now getting on top and a great take from Roberts set up another attack from Welch but the last pass again went astray.

It was only a matter of time before Brid had to score, and from a line-out Thompson and Thundercliffe combined to give Welch the space to put Johnson in for his second try.

From the restart Johnson cleared well, Brid regained possession and Girking broke then linked with Welch who gave the pass to the ever-supporting Martin to score, Roberts conversion making it 25-6 and Brid were home and dry.

Martin Robinson came on to add some experience at scrum-half and Oliver Stephenson came on for Ryan Nepia who had carried well.

Unfortunately Stephenson transgressed and was yellow carded so Brid played the last 10 minutes of the match with 14 men.

Keighley came back strongly and good defence from Waines, Trent Rowlands and Thompson turned ball over, again the visiting team looked to counter but were short of numbers again at the breakdown, and with full-time approaching deservedly scored a try.

Young and Waines played well in the forwards but the Bridlington man of match was Roberts, whose all-round game was outstanding.

After the game Brid paid tribute to passed member, loyal supporter and bathman Barry Tranmer, who passed away at Keighley RUFC in 2012, by laying flowers under the posts.

Brid can now try and get a settled side together after all the injuries and unavailability as there is still a lot to play for.

Driffield come to Brid on Easter Saturday in the 50th anniversary of the Turnbull Trophy and the Shield final will be played on Sunday May 7.