Surprise home defeat after late kick is missed

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Bridlington RUFC 27

Knottingley RUFC 29

BRIDLINGTON kicked off the match, putting Knottingley under immense pressure from the off.

Great play by the home pack set a great attacking platform for the backs to attack, and a high tackle on Gareth Roberts gave Stevie Mellonby the opportunity to put the first points on the scoreboard with a successful kick at goal.

Both teams then knuckled down, for a fast flowing game, with Bridlington getting to 10 metres from the Knottingley try line twice.

The visitors made their way up the park after soaking up considerable pressure from the home side, but an interception by the visitors, saw them cross the line beneath the posts for an easily converted try.

The Bridlington pack played exceptionally well, supporting the backs at each and every breakdown, picking up the ball and making ground, through Daniel Perkin, Adam Dixon and Paddy Waines.

Knottingley forwards were also driving over the ball well, but when they drove too far, they allowed Mark Oliver to dive on the loose ball.

With his pack driving over, they set up a great attacking platform once again for the backs. Quick hands by Mellonby and Sizwe Zondo released Regan Stirk to score out wide by the corner flag, putting them back in front.

Bridlington then had to defend, as the visitors trudged up the park, then in short space of time the referee showed two yellow cards, to the home side.

On the second occasion he awarded a penalty to the visitors which they graciously accepted with a successful kick at goal.

From the restart, the visitors again made their way up the park, then another yellow card was shown to a Bridlington player, who were now down to 12 men.

Knottingley opted for a five metre scrum, but even with only five men in the scrum, Bridlington held out.

A second scrum saw Kieran Lawry add his weight, and again the home side held firm, but with superior numbers, the visitors passed the ball along the line to score in the corner despite some great tackling by Zondo.

Following the missed conversion attempt, the referee ended the half, with the score at the break 15-8 in favour of Knottingley

Bridlington captain Mark Oliver approached the referee prior to the kick off for the second half, but the referee awarded a penalty kick to the visitors from the restart, taking them down, for a lineout on the home side’s 22 metre line.

Although Knottingley won the lineout, it was Bridlington who reacted best.

Big tackles by Waines and Perkin turned the ball over for the home side to attack.

They made ground slowly up the park, two of the carded players returned to the field, and there were some great battering ram runs by Waines, who was stopped 10 metres short of the try line.

Perkin picked up making a few more metres, the forwards recycled the ball again, and a great pass by Zondo saw Gareth Roberts through a gap to score beneath the posts, successfully converted by Mellonby, bringing the scores level.

It was not long after the restartthat the last carded player returned putting the home side back to full strength.

Bridlington however were already making their way upfield, thanks to good performances all round by the team, then just inside the visitors 22 they won a scrum.

Picking up from the base of the scrum James Thompson saw a gap, broke through the defence, off loading to Ali Sutton to score beneath the posts for a converted try.

Knottingley restarted well but knocked on as they collected their own kick, but hands in the scrum saw them awarded a penalty on the home 22, which they successfully kicked at goal.

Both teams then made little ground, following the visitors’ attempt at goal from the halfway line, Bridlington made a few changes bringing on Jamie Muru and Gary Heeley for Tom Kemp and Ali Sutton. Muru’s 22 drop out kick was chased by Heeley, putting in a great tackle on the player receiving the ball.

The visitors managed to recycle the ball, despite good tackling by Dixon and Thompson, and the ball was fed to the backs who chipped over the solid home defence.

Mellonby`s clearance kick was charged down, and Knottingley’s winger was able to gather and score in the corner.

The visitors then were quick to march up field again, but after being camped out on Bridlington`s 22 for a while, the forwards set up a good platform for the stand-off to score a drop goal.

Bridlington restarted well with Heeley chasing and gathering the kick, passing to AJ Burrows to have a run, but as he was tackled, he popped the ball up to Lawry in support to have a run.

The home side were then pushed back by a couple of penalties. Following a scrum Knottingley tried to break the defence with a run by their centre, the home forwards anticipated this, driving him back, winning a penalty in the process.

It was taken quickly by Mellonby, through the hands of Muru and Zondo broke through the defence, winning another penalty.

Muru kicked for a lineout seven metres from the try line, and with the lineout won by Tom Benninger, the ball was passed along the back line for Stirk to score a try again out by the corner flag.

Knottingley worked well again from the restart, and in a matter of minutes were in position for another successful drop goal.

Bridlington enjoyed possession of the ball for the remainder of the game edging their way up field until they were eventually awarded a penalty, with which they could win the game.

But unfortunately as the ball went to the left of the uprights, the referee ended the game.

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This week Bridlington are away at Keighley

The next home match is against Ilkley on February 18

Bridlington are at home to West Park Leeds in the quarter finals of the Yorkshire Shield on February 25

LAWRY’S LATEST

Bridlington director of rugby Kieran Lawry said: “WHAT a hugely crushing blow Saturday became after such a good performance and we were seemingly in total control.

“Despite all the rugby being played by ourselves we somehow managed to give away 19 easy points to the grateful visitors from our own individual errors.

“Coupled to this, a flurry of yellow cards meant we gave ourselves just too much to do, even though we had a relatively easy chance to win the game with the last kick of the match.

“The atmosphere in the dressing room afterwards was dreadful but the challenge will now be to pick ourselves up for the really difficult trip to Keighley at the weekend.

“The sign of a good team is the ability to bounce back and to use the negatives for motivation to succeed.

“This is what we will be working on in training this week, trying to rally round the lads and reminding them that we are still six points clear at the top of the table.

“One match doesn’t make a season.

“We will be extra focused not to give any easy points away like we did against Knottingley, who, despite putting a great deal of effort and commitment into their play, didn’t trouble us too much during the game.

“Instead we transpired to throw the game away with two interceptions and a charged down kick.

“We know that if we give teams like Keighley these easy opportunities then the scoreline will not be as close.

“Despite the terrible result there were still some fantastic performances from a number of players.

“James Thompson and Mark Oliver got through plenty of work, supported well by Daniel Perkin and Adam Dixon while Paddy Waines continued his tranformation into a top class front row player with another power packed display.

“In the back line Gareth Roberts, Regan Stirk and Sizwe Zondo all pushed for the man of the match accolade and posed a threat every time they had ball in hand.

“So we will roll our sleeves up, work hard and make sure we put last week’s blip behind us with a far more controlled performance on Saturday.”