‘It is always pleasing to win the last game of the season’

Bridlington v Pontefract
Bridlington v Pontefract

The thoughts of Bridlington coach Rich Girking after they beat Pontefract 34-27 at Dukes Park.

It is always pleasing to win the last game of the season, especially when you are at home. It is our home form which has been so good in the past few months.

There was a chance Pontefract could still have been relegated so they needed a win and they played quite well. They have scored quite a few points over the last few weeks and their results had improved recently.

Every time we play Pontefract, it seems to be a high-scoring match. We couldn’t quite shake them off but we just managed to sneak the win.

We didn’t have a kicker and missed our first few conversions but Gary Heeley fancies himself as a kicker so he took over. We also had Rob Waller helping us out as well, after a while away from the first team.

Ben Wollerton came in for his first game and he did really well with two tries, and I was pleased with how we kept going until the end.

At 27-27, we had nothing to play for and I think some teams would have thought it didn’t matter, but we wanted to try to win the game and finish above North Ribblesdale.

I think this season has proved that when we do perform, we can win games against any team, but we need to sort out our mental strength for away games. If we are going to do well next year, we need to improve our away form.

At one stage around Christmas, it looked like we could get relegated so I’m pleased with the way we got ourselves organised.

We stuck to a simple, basic plan and we have been able to bring some young lads through.

We started to keep the ball for longer periods and put the opposition under pressure. If we have the ball, the other team cannot score.

A special mention to PJ Freeman, who I think has played in every minute of every game this season, which is a remarkable achievement, especially on the back of a full season in New Zealand.

He will be staying next season, Auryn Murray will be back and hopefully Wiremu Cookson will be back for a second spell, and we have a prop signed up. A big thing for next season is to try to get a third teams started.

It was such a shame that the second team lost in their semi-final on Saturday. They couldn’t beat a competitive Driffield side but next year we will look forward to getting better fixtures and I must say well done to Steve Manton and Mark Floyd who have worked hard with the side.

Finally, I must thank all of the sponsors, supporters and volunteers - anyone who has helped in any way during the season.