Leaders made to work hard for win

Oliver Akroyd runs with the ball for Old Brods v Billingham
Oliver Akroyd runs with the ball for Old Brods v Billingham

BRODS produced a much improved performance against the league leaders and favourites for promotion in an entertaining game at Woodhead.

Both sides were lively with the ball in hand and it was Brods who took an early lead with three points from the boot of Dan Wood following an infringement by the Billingham forwards.

Billingham pulled level with a further penalty before Brods’ enterprising play through Hoyle down the right led to Jennings going close. A further exchange of penalties by the respective fullbacks and the game was still in the balance after 30 minutes.

However, Billingham scored the first try when right wing Turnbull showed real pace to score in the corner and Evans converted from the touchline.

With the score 13-6 in favour of the visitors at half time the Brods had matched their confident opponents in all areas.

The home side forwards were solid in the scrum and at the lineout and also had the edge in the loose.

The second half started with Billingham applying the pressure in the Brods half and following a clearance full back Evans struck an attempted drop goal from over 40 metres which struck the post.

Billingham were looking to keep the ball alive whenever in possession and following some excellent inter play created space down the right where fullback Evans took the final pass wide on the right.

With the conversion from the touchline Billingham had stretched the lead to 20 points to six and wasted no time in adding to the score when immediately from the kick-off fly half Evans produced a well rehearsed chip over the advancing defence.

The excellent Hyndman regathered the ball sweetly to feed his supporting brother and in a flash the visitors had added to their score. With a further conversion it looked as though Billingham were out of reach with the scoreline at 27-6.

Brods dug deep and remained competitive particularly in the forwards where teenage props Cooper and Ward were more than holding their own in the tight and were industrious in the loose.

Ogden and Dale’s experience was showing in the loose and Hawkins and Millward made the hard yards to put Brods deep into Billingham territory.

The pressure was telling and the visitors conceded penalties as Brods pressed the line.

Hoyle was held back, a clear penalty try which the referee missed, however, within minutes he and his team mates were rewarded for their efforts when Akroyd marshalled his troops five metres from the vistors line.

Hoyle took advantage of the gap created and touched down between the uprights. Danny Wood added the extras and Brods rolled their sleeves up to carry on their good work.

The Woodhead men once more took the game to their opponents and dominated possession and territory.

The pressure was telling as both visitors flankers were penalised for midemeanors resulting in yellow cards. Despite the Brods pressure Billingham survived and in the closing seconds repeated their party piece with a chip, chase and regather to release their backs who covered the length of the field to score in the right hand corner.

Evans missed the conversion and the final whistle blew.

Billingham look like a side destined for a higher level showing great skill and pace in their talented back line.

Brods matched them for long periods and the score line may be a little flattering and can take encouragement from a much improved performance.