Tougher tests lie ahead for league leaders

Acklam 0 Bridlington 52
Acklam 0 Bridlington 52

Bridlington head coach Paul Cook feels the next couple of months will be pivotal in proving if his side are title favourites.

They sit top of Yorkshire One, with nine wins from nine games, after Saturday’s 52-0 win at struggling Acklam.

But Cook is well aware that conditions and opponents will be tougher in future weeks.

“Our understanding in both attack and defence has really shown so far this season and we need to continue this as the weather worsens and the pitches become harder to play on.

“Our squad size has certainly helped in that we are able to cope with injuries and still play to our potential.

“The next two to three months will be tough as we will face some big heavy sides on pitches that are not conducive to open rugby. I am confident however that we can adapt and that hopefully we can still be top of the table at Christmas.”

The trip to Acklam saw Bridlington face wet, windy and cold conditions.

Josh Thundercliffe returned for the injured Ryan Nepia and skipper Ryan Girking replaced Martin Robinson, who was on the bench with the returning Gary Heeley.

A slow start allowed Acklam all the early pressure and territory and poor discipline by the visitors meant they should have fallen behind but the home side missed two easy penalties.

Brid eventually gained territory and from a set play Matiu Welch put Gary Stevens in the clear and he outpaced the defence. Stevie Mellonby’s conversion made it 7-0.

Acklam attacked with their powerful forwards carrying well but they had little to offer wider out and after a turnover Brid pounced and Paddy Waines scored from close range.

The next try by Stevens was a carbon copy of his first effort, and Mellonby added the extras to make it 19-0 at the end of a scrappy first half which was dominated by the referee’s whistle.

For the second half Brid changed Waines for Jayson Stephenson and Ali Sutton for Heeley. Brid started to play some better rugby as Acklam were tiring due to a good first-half performance,

Wiremu Cookson capitalised with a superb try from 40 metres, out-sprinting the hosts’ full-back to score.

Welch was next on the scoresheet before Stevens completed a well deserved hat-trick sprinting home from halfway and selling the full-back a lovely dummy.

Mellonby continued to be reliable with the boot as Bridlington went 38-0 ahead.

In the later stages, Welch added two further tries to complete his hat-trick and both were converted by Mellonby to take Bridlington past a half-century of points.

Bridlington were not at their best but were still too good for a very spirited Acklam side who never gave up. The scrummage and rucking will have to be better in weeks to come, though.

Joe Gladstone picked up the man of the match award for great performance in attack and defence.