Patched up young side bounces back

IT was a red letter day for Brods as they won in North One East with a full squad of 18 home grown players.

Only a couple of their line-up were over 23 and one of the senior members, No 8 Luke Scrimshaw, twice muscled his way over from close range to help the Woodhead men overcome similarly youthful visitors.

The patched-up Brods were bouncing back from their first defeat of the season at Middlesbrough the previous week and while there were inevitably plenty of rough edges to their play, they controlled most of the game.

Victory helped them climb a place to third in the table, much to the delight of coach Ian Armitage who is still reluctant to lift expectations too high after previously predicting it would be a battle for survival following summer departures.

“Two seasons ago some of these players were in the third team. They are now in the firsts and there is nothing better for a coach than seeing players improve enough to be able to do that,” said Armitage.

“The fact that we do not pay a penny out is superb. These players are great to be around. My only concern is that we are being forced to expose some of these players too soon.”

Young backs Tom Booth and brothers Nathan and Liam Scott were among those in the wars on Saturday but Armitage hopes to have three players back for next weekend’s trip to Malton and Norton.

Brods made the early running down the slope in their white change kit, aided by their ability to wheel the visitors’ scrum and an improved lineout.

Both sides threatened the try line but were guilty of kicking away possession before the hosts opened the scoring on 16 minutes from a poor Northumbria clearance. Matt Hoyle ran the ball back to set up a ruck and hooker Rob Jennings broke the defensive line and sent debutant Nathan Scott on a diagonal run towards the corner.

Stand off Dan Wood was unable to convert but made it 8-0 with an easy penalty which just went inside the left-hand upright on 26 minutes.

The visiting backs showed their quality with a fluent handling move but knocked on and Brods regained field position through forwards Jonjo Ward, Dave Skinner and Kyle Millward.

They extended their lead to 13-0 with a timely second try just before the break.

Wood kicked a penalty to touch at the corner and Brods executed a lineout catch and drive to perfection for Scrimshaw to touch down.

Northumbria scrum half Callum Blythe got back well to haul down Wood and although the visitors lost him to the sin bin, they reduced the deficit while down to 14 men when winger Sam Brennan showed an impressive turn of foot to outflank the defence and stand off Sam’s Ash converted.

Brods responded well. Blind side flanker Ollie Akroyd broke through from 15 metres out but the referee ruled he had knocked on over the try line.

However, Scrimshaw battered his way over to the right of the posts on 63 minutes to make it 18-7, Booth’s conversion hitting an upright.

Northumbria had a little more success in the forwards in the final quarter and Hoyle and replacement Andy Clay were required to bundle Brennan into touch at the corner.

Alarm bells started ringing for Brods when impressive centre Ollie Smith rounded the limping Nathan Scott to score under the posts with five minutes left, George Lillis adding the extra two.

However, a stoppage while a visiting player was treated allowed Brods to compose themselves and good work form Scrimshaw, Akroyd, Jennings and Wood allowed the home side to take the ball out of harm’s way.