Bees 55-27 Pocklington
By Benji Pickin
Bradford & Bingley thrash Pocklington after fine finish
FEW saw this final score coming when Pocklington led 27-26 after 66 minutes of their North One East clash at Wagon Lane.
But Bradford & Bingley put in a stunning final 15 minutes to record 29 unanswered points against opponents whose legs were becoming increasingly heavy.
The Bees know they are not the finished article – as two yellow cards, some sloppy tackling and basic handling errors testify – but they are playing an exciting brand of rugby under coach Anthony Posa.
They are not ruling out promotion and skipper Tom Booth said: “We have been improving but the previous week against York was a bit of a blip so we wanted to put that right this week, but we need to work on our defence.
“The two yellow cards that we had in the first half made a game of it. However, in the last 20 minutes we could feel that Pocklington’s heads were down, and Lance Taylor’s long-range penalty was really vital.”
The Bees scrum half, who was their man of the match, knocked over a 50-metre effort in the 72nd minute from near the dugouts on the left-hand side of the pitch, and the hosts never looked back.
The match began on a sombre note with a minute’s silence for former Bradford second-row Bob Clayton, who has died aged 71.
Bees right winger Jack Malthouse was heavily involved in the early exchanges and he scored in the third minute after good work by centre Gene Te Amo and hooker Alex Keeton.
Most of the rest of the half belonged to the visitors though, with lock Ed Liversidge being shoved into touch on the left wing in the seventh minute and prop John-Paul Kelly making good ground two minutes later.
Good combinations proved too much for the hosts in the 13th minute when centre Jonty Peters scored, with full back Christian Pollock’s conversion putting Pocklington into a 7-5 lead.
Two penalty concessions by the Bees again put the visitors in a prime attacking position but the chance came to nothing amid howls of protest from visiting supporters, who felt a home player had illegally come through the middle of a maul to gain possession.
A crucial decision by referee Chris Binnie, who ruled that a Bees player had carried the ball over his own defensive line, resulted in a five-metre attacking scrum for Pocklington in the 28th minute.
They did not waste the opportunity, being awarded a penalty try a minute later. Worse still, Bradford & Bingley flanker Max Mountain was yellow carded in the same attack for illegally booting the ball out of the retreating ruck.
There was another yellow card for the hosts in the 37th minute, with debutant lock Harry Gallagher being sin-binned for a high tackle.
It was now 13 against 15, but the hosts still fashioned a try just before half-time, winning a penalty and the subsequent line-out for Keeton to power his way over.
Taylor’s fine conversion left the home side only trailing 14-12 at the interval, but Pocklington soon extended their advantage, counter rucking to win possession for fly half James Thompson to score in the 43rd minute, with Pollock converting.
Back to full strength now, full back Cameron Bainbridge put the Bees just two behind in the 49th minute, cutting in on the diagonal from the left wing as space opened up before him.
Taylor converted but Pollock penalties either side of a close-in try by home centre Stefan Roguski, which Taylor converted, meant that the visitors were 27-26 in front.
It was now that Bradford & Bingley’s superior fitness, coupled with Liversidge leaving the pitch with a head injury, began to tell against tiring opponents.
Taylor’s magnificent 72nd-minute penalty seemed to confirm that it was not to be Pocklington‘s day, and the closing stages backed that up.
The fleet-footed Bainbridge went over in the 77th minute in the left-hand corner after a sweetly-timed pass by replacement Ben Greaves, and Malthouse crossed two minutes later on the opposite flank after Te Amo showed his strength.
Taylor’s superb conversion from near the right touchline made it 41-27 but the pain wasn’t over for Pocklington, as they conceded tries number seven and eight in injury time.
Firstly, Roguski barrelled through the middle to score in the 83rd minute, and then Greaves cut inside to score three minutes later, with Taylor converting both, the first via a drop goal and the second by a more conventional method.