Bridlington RUFC 28
Keighley RUFC 27
BRIDLINGTON entertained third- place Keighley determined to continue their good form and strong home record having only narrowly lost to high flying Malton the previous match.
Kicking off in good rugby playing conditions despite the slippy playing surface Brid were quickly into their usual good start pressurising Keighley in defence and attacking with great vigour when in possession.
Brid were determined to keep the ball in hand and try to stretch the visitors at every opportunity and this attacking intent soon reaped its rewards when Keighley were penalised right in front of the posts after seven minutes for slowing the ball down at the ruck.
Stevie Mellonby, starting in the unaccustomed position of right wing, stepped up to slot home the kick for a 3-0 lead.
Keighley quickly responded and were soon level after some good forward play recycled the ball quickly and when they looked to move it wide Brid were penalised for being caught offside.
The penalty easily converted by the Keighley stand off.
In their attempt to halt the constant Brid attacking play Keighley began to give a number of penalties away at the breakdown which eventually cost them dearly when the Keighley centre was sin-binned for handling in the ruck in their 22m area.
Brid used this as the incentive they needed to raise their game slightly thus beginning a 15 minute period of 12 unanswered points.
Five of these came from Brid’s first try of the afternoon and probably one of the best of the season so far.
Aggressive forward play to recycle the ball quickly coupled with dynamic rucking and good hands saw Brid go through six or seven phases at pace, tiring the Keighley defenders and eventually tying them in.
When the ball was released to Martin Robinson who found himself in the stand off position he looked to attack but quickly recognised he was short of options.
Utilising all his football skills he deftly chipped over the on-rushing Keighley defence perfectly for Stevie Mellonby to chase and catch at full pace before scampering over the line for the try.
Less then five minutes later Mellonby was again on the score sheet, this time finishing off confidently with great footwork from a good Regan Stirk pass after a series of well worked forward drives on the left of the field.
The extra two points was successfully converted by Mellonby as well to cap a fine first 20 minutes of the match to give Brid what looked like a match winning 15-3 lead.
This soon changed on its head though when player coach Kieran Lawry was sin binned for handling the ball in the ruck while off his feet on 28 minutes.
With Keighley converting the resultant penalty and then adding a well worked try through their backs three minutes later it looked like the yellow card would prove costly.
Despite the increasing pressure from a Keighley side with the bit between their teeth and confidence growing Brid managed to hold on until they were back to full strength.
Playing deep into injury time in the first half Brid struck a crucial blow to their opponents when Ben Johnson used his pace and power to finish off a well worked try after some slick interchanging and good handling.
Turning round after half time in confident fashion Brid soon began shooting themselves in the foot with a series of penalties.
Although some of them were very harsh Brid should know better and soon the visitors were back in the game, firstly from a penalty with Brid pulled up for offside, quickly followed by a Keighley converted try when the Brid defenders became tied in around the fringes and Keighley moved the ball wide at pace.
This made the score 20-21 to Keighley and it seemed that all Brid’s effort was being thrown away.
Brid were now severely under the cosh and the discipline was slipping fast although the refereeing decisions were becoming more and more inconsistent.
The poor decisions continued when Brid prop Rob Medforth was harshly adjudged to have played the ball off his feet in a ruck and was despatched to the sidelines for a 10 minute breather and Keighley slotting over the resulting penalty.
Yet another Keighley penalty three minutes later meant that Brid were now a converted try behind heading into the last quarter of the match.
Thankfully Brid came together and composed themselves ready for a big final push but despite numerous efforts and some fantastic play were struggling to get back into the game.
It was with 10 minutes left that Brid made their final substitutions bringing on Daniel Perkin and seasoned warhorse Jamie Muru to add fresh impetus.
Brid were now battering at the Keighley try line and eventually the pressure told when Martin Robinson somehow worked the ball over the line from close range. Mellonby stepped up to try and tie the scores but failed with the conversion.
With the scores at 25-27 to Keighley it looked like Brid’s efforts were too little too late but the never-say-die attitude came to the fore and after a number of relentless drives and strong running Keighley were penalised 30 metres out.
Mellonby stepped up and for the second time this season calmly slotted the kick to win the game 28-27, to the relief of his coach.
A fantastic effort all round from the lads although they will have to improve on the terrible discipline if they are to climb the league table.
Club sponsors: North Bay Leisure and Hudson Contract Services