Northern 20-29 Bees
Good win on the road
A second successive five try haul and a bonus point win lifts Bradford and Bingley out of the relegation positions for the first time this season. The Bees have a superb opportunity to break clear of the drop zone next weekend as they face the side immediately below them, West Hartlepool on Saturday. Wests have not won since the opening weekend of the season and having played so well away from home this week, the Bees must be already relishing their next fixture.
Speaking after the game, Head of Rugby, Martin Whitcombe said:
“That was an all round top class performance from the boys and all parts of our game went well. To travel two or three hours away from home with a disrupted squad is always a big ask but to go out and dominate to the extent where I thought the result was never in doubt as soon as Tom Booth got us on the scoreboard in the fifth minute is a huge credit to the whole squad”.
Whitcombe continued: “people have asked me what has changed - I think we scored three tries in our first three games and we now put away ten scores in the last two weeks - In very simple terms, I believe the lads are just doing the basics very well now. We have the forwards playing as forwards and backs doing backs jobs. We are getting on with the hard graft in the front five and we keeping it simple from there outward. I think the lads are finding it a joy to play like this and I would like to think it is becoming a joy to watch”.
As Whitcombe said, the Bees side was again disrupted and Rugby League convert Hafa Karim made his debut and Newcastle based student Joe Daley was called onto the bench. The changes to the squad seemed to not change the Bees desire to get on the front foot as quickly as possible and after a bright start, skipper Tom Booth got the scoreboard moving with a fifth minute try converted by Dan Jeffrey. The rain was making conditions far from ideal but on the big flat pitch at McCracken Park the visitors had plenty of space to run out wide and to take on the home backline and just as the first quarter ended, James Morton had ball in hand to plough over the whitewash. The home side were on the scoreboard through a penalty in between the Bees tries and with the Bees infringing rather more than the referee liked, Dan Jeffrey found himself in the sin bin with about 12 minutes to play in the first half. Jeffrey is very much a pivot for the creative movement in midfield, but the Bees did not seem to suffer with his absence and saw out the first period with no additional scoring.
Restored to a full fifteen for the second half, the Bees wasted little time in chalking up score number three as Tom Cummins was over the line in the 41st minute. With the conversion tacked on by Morton it was now 19 3 to the visitors and the score was a fair reflection of the Bees upper hand. Northern pegged back a penalty, but in the 48th minute the four try bonus point was secured as Jack Malthouse dotted down. With more than half an hour to play a 24 points to 6 advantage is not a guaranteed win and the Bees still had some rugby to play. Lee Neha was enjoying possibly his best game in a Bees shirt at number ten and took his kicking and passing options well throughout the game. Even when Neha left the field, the control in midfield never loosened as the Bees paired the Jeffrey brothers at 9 and 10 for a period. The home side may have had their hopes raised with a 70th minute score pulling the Bees within 11 points with 10 to play, but with their next foray into Northern territory the Bees effectively ended the contest as hooker Mat Cochrane reached the whitewash. Northern added a late consolation try, but it was the visitors who took the honours and returned to Wagon Lane with five points.