Forward decision hits late fightback

Brods v Wheatley Hills'Ryan Harris
Brods v Wheatley Hills'Ryan Harris

BRODS had to settle for a losing bonus point against the third-placed team in North East One and felt it could have been much more.

Louie Butler looked to have cut the gap to one point late on, with a difficult conversion to come, when he touched down at the end of a flowing move. However, the referee called a forward pass, much to the surprise of the supporters in the vicinity.

After the disappointing display at Cleckheaton it was much better performance from Brods and their opponents from Doncaster were relieved to emerge victorious thanks to an opening period of fast, flowing and powerful rugby.

In perfect conditions, Hills gained a good position close to the Brods line playing up the slope. They moved the ball left, then right and created the opening for open side flanker Cresswell to break the defensive line the relatively easy after five minutes. The conversion was missed.

Brods responded with an attack down the left, Matty Hoyle linking with Butler, who was bundled into touch just short of the corner flag. Hills cleared but from the resulting lineout Perry Wilson, making his first team start at hooker, found his target at the resulting lineout and the ball was moved to the right where Hoyle combined with Adam Standeven, who was clinical with his finishing by the corner flag. The conversion was missed but the tone of the match was set with both sides looking to move the ball through the hands at pace.

Hills went 10-5 up by using the blind side for left winger Barker to score in the corner after 15 minutes. Brods immediately reclaimed three points from an Oliver Akroyd penalty.

The powerful Hills pack was gaining momentum and, combined with the pace of a well coached back line, the Doncaster side looked the best the Hipperholme men have faced this season.

This was illustrated when fullback Woodcock came into the line following a break by captain Buckenham through the middle of the Brods defence to score under the posts. The conversion made it 17-8.

Hills continued to press with No 8 Elliott prominent and Standeven left the field following a throat injury to be replaced by James Marshall.

Brods missed two kickable penalties before Marshall and Aaron Fowler combined and Joe Armitage escaped the clutches of several tacklers to score under the sticks, Akroyd’s kick making it 15-17 at half time.

Brods dominated possession at the start of the second period but from a turnover in midfield Hills centre Hayward made ground before releasing lock Mauel, who sprinted to the line for a converted try.

Brods’ youthful scrum was holding up well against much bigger and more experienced rivals while they secured their own lineout ball with confidence.

Akroyd made it 18-24 when Hills were penalised for handling in the ruck but scrum half Barker immediately replied for the visitors, breaking blind and scoring wide on the right.

Brods showed great spirit and enterprise to trouble the tiring visitors. Mauel was yellow carded following repeated offences as Hills grew more desperate.

Brods were camped in the Hills 22 and Butler scored in the corner but was denied a repeat due to the forward pass verdict.