Disappointing end to an excellent league season

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Pontefract RUFC 42

Bridlington RUFC 17

BRIDLINGTON travelled to Pontefract for their last game in the league, which was also a chance to see the opposition in action, ahead of the semi final of the Yorkshire Shield against them this weekend.

It was a dull and overcast day, with short showers, turning to hail throughout the game.

There was a gusting wind around the park, which was quite strong at times.

It was going to be an upward battle for Bridlington, after losing a number of players through injury and unavailability due to work commitments.

Bridlington kicked off the match, finding themselves immediately under pressure following a great run by Pontefract’s full back.

A kick ahead was chased back and gathered by Regan Stirk, a metre from the Bridlington line, clearing to touch at the 40 metre line.

The visitors then had to soak up yet more pressure as the home side marched up the park.

Following a scrum on the halfway line, Bridlington set up a good attacking platform, Mark Oliver diving on the ball as it came out of the scrum, quick hands and great running by the back line, saw Regan Stirk cross the line for the first try of the match.

Bridlington kept up the pressure from the restart, and following a high tackle on AJ Burrows, the referee showed a yellow card to Pontefract’s full back.

The resultant penalty saw Paddy Waines making a great run supported by the rest of the pack, the backs were released and again the visitors scored an unconverted try.

Pontefract attacked from the restart, the forwards driving at the visitors time and again, as they attacked the line.

After winning a couple of penalties five metres out, the bigger Pontefract forwards drove over the line from a lineout to score a converted try.

Play then went back and forth as both teams battled for the upper hand, and a yellow card was given to Bridlington for coming in from the side of a ruck.

This was the opportunity Pontefract needed, as they used the extra man to score yet another forward’s push-over try, putting them into the lead.

Bridlington continued to defend, as the home side attacked wave after wave, again this finished off with a forward’s drive-over converted try.

Tom Kemp saw his chance from the restart kick as he turned and kicked off to the backs instead of the forwards.

A great chase by Stirk as he gathered the ball, allowed him to run at the sparse defence, off-loading to allow the visitors to score their third try of the match.

But it was Pontefract that got the last score of the half.

The visitors were camped out a metre from their line for quite a time, but eventually, Pontefract were able to dive over the line for yet another forwards try.

The home side kicked off the second half, which was caught by Micky Edmond inside his 22.

He drove the ball 10 metres, before being stopped, but the force of the tackle dislodged the ball.

Pontefract’s larger pack again dominated play, releasing their backs for short periods of play before driving over, securing the ball once again.

Then from a lineout 10 metres out they caught and drove over the line for another try, despite some great tackling by Morgan Kinnaird and Gary Heeley.

Bridlington seemed to have no answer to this tactic, with their smaller more mobile pack.

Time for a change, and Adam Dixon came on for Kinnaird. This started to work well, and the back line made some good runs, directed by Kemp at stand off.

But this did not last for long, as the referee awarded penalties and scrums, mainly in favour of Pontefract.

Bridlington were forced to make a change, following an injury to Stirk, bringing on Oliver Stephenson for his debut in the first team.

It was not long before he was called upon to put his body on the line, as he stopped the big number eight with a great tackle, winning a scrum for Bridlington.

Pontefract soaked up the pressure waiting for opportunity to break out. Again their forwards dominated proceedings, as they marched up the park. Bridlington defended well, but a penalty put an end to their great defence, and it was kicked for a lineout on Bridlington’s 22 metre line.

From a catch and drive from the lineout, Bridlington stopped the attack five metres from their line, defending shoulder to shoulder, thwarting each new attack at the line, but again it was the Pontefract pack that found a gap driving over for a converted try.

The teams battled for possession for the rest of the half, with neither getting the upper hand for very long, despite Pontefract losing another player to a yellow card, following an indiscretion.

The game ended with Bridlington camped out in the Pontefract 22, attacking time and again, but following a wheeled scrum, the referee ended the game.

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