Bradford and Bingley completed a hat-trick of wins over Bridlington this season to underline their position as favourites for the Yorkshire One title.
The West Yorkshire side had already beaten Bridlington twice, once in the league and once in the Yorkshire Shield, but the hosts were hoping the presence of the Archbishop of York would inspire them to turn the tables.
It was not to be, and while Bridlington held their own for much of the game, two excellent tries and accurate goalkicking were enough for the Bees to win 17-6.
Bridlington dominated the early stages and the first score came after seven minutes, with Bradford ruled offside after a Bridlington scrum 20 metres from the visitors line.
Jack Arthur kicked successfully for a lead of 3-0 and Bridlington continued well in the opening quarter-of-an-hour. Matiu Welch kicked to the opposition 22 metre line. The hosts regained possession, and got the ball to Welch again, he chose to kick, this time high but Jimmy Thompson just failed to gather the difficult ball as he was strongly challenged.
Failing to capitalise on their territorial advantage was to come back to haunt Bridlington and the league leaders proved to be much more ruthless, scoring a try with their first attack of the game.
After a series of quick passes, they moved the ball to the right wing for a score in the corner from Adam Sutcliffe. An excellent conversion from wide out by gerhard Nortier gave the visitors the lead at 7-3.
The way they had turned defence into a dangerous attack in the blink of an eye proved why they were at the top of the table.
Bridlington had some defending to do after the restart, but managed to clear their lines, only to concede a penalty for a ruck infringement. Nortier, who was the game’s outstanding player, took full advantage to move the score on to 10-3 after 24 minutes play.
The next few minutes were fairly even, with both sides kicking for territory, until Bradford were penalised for taking a man out off the ball, and Arthur stepped up to successfully land a goal to narrow the gap to four points.
The only other scoring chances came as Welch attempted unsuccessfully to drop a goal as he had seen that the referee was playing a penalty advantage. The consequent kick by Arthur also failed to advance Brid’s total, so the half ended with the visitors 10-6 in front but all to play for.
In the break, the archbishop went on to the pitch to make a speech, urging more noise from the touchline to encourage the players.
Bridlington repsonded to the rallying call, gaining a lineout deep in the opposition half. Good running by the Bridlington backs, and further pressure by the forwards, forced a rebound off the Bradford post, with Paddy Waines was on hand to go over, but with the ball dislodged as he attempted to ground.
It was the closest Bridlington were to get to a try all afternoon. with Bradford’s defence impressive throughout.
They were guilty of a series of misdemeanours, causing their captain to be talked to by the referee, but it was not until the game was beyond Bridlington late on that the official finally produced a yellow card.
One offence after 10 minutes of the second half gave Arthur a chance for three points, but he failed to land from wide out.
Then came the best attack of the match. A great solo effort by Bradford centre Taylor Fiddes, taking the ball well in his own half, to go on a curving run to the right, completely outflanking the Brid defence to score close to the corner, with the luxury of being able to ignore an overlap as he headed for the line.
An excellent Nortier conversion increased the Bradford lead to 17-6.
Over the next few minutes, the visitors continued to concede penalties, until the referee decided that he had seen enough and showed a yellow card to Richard Scull. Unfortunately, Brid were unable to take advantage of being a man up, so the ten minutes went with no further scores from either side,
Both teams were tiring in the sticky conditions, with neither mounting any really dangerous attacks for the remainder of the half.
Brid had been beaten by a team who had shown why they are on top of the league.
Bridlington’s man of the match was propr Matty Faulkner, shirt sponsored by Chambers Chartered Surveyors.