Old Brodleians banked five league points in a match for the first time this season with a 32-15 home win over Wath Upon Dearne yesterday.
In what was seen as a pivotal game in their Yorkshire One relegation fight, the next-to-bottom team backed up their fine win at Selby the previous week with a highly-encouraging six-try haul.
They moved six points clear of inactive North Ribblesdale and a losing bonus point for Pontefract was the best any of the other sides in the bottom half of the division could manage.
Mid-table Wath, who have ex-Halifax lock Richard ‘Titch’ Hill as their player coach, turned up without their kit and stand off Anthony Barratt.
The visitors borrowed Brods’ turquoise change strip but were at sixes and sevens without Barratt, and trailed 15-0 before he arrived at half time and brought some structure to their game.
However, a Brods side visibly growing in confidence, particularly in the forwards, were not going to let their lead slip down the Woodhead slope in spite of a mounting penalty count against them and a couple of yellow cards.
Brods knocked on from the kick off and were under intense pressure for the first 10 minutes. Wath turned down three penalty opportunities in the quest for a try and battered away at the home line.
However, Brods’ defensive commitment has never been questioned in a tough first half to the campaign and when Dan Wood’s penalty to touch eventually lifted the siege their relief was palpable.
Wood missed a fairly straight 25 metre penalty on 16 minutes at the start of an off day for both him and Barratt with their goal kicking.
The normally-reliable Wood managed to land only one easy conversion and hit the post from in front with another while Barratt barely got the ball off the ground for one of his three unsuccessful conversion attempts.
For once, Wood’s misses didn’t matter as Brods took a stranglehold on the game with three tries before the break.
Strong runs from forwards Rob Jennings and Sterling Ross paved the way for winger Alex Brook to touch down wide on the right on 22 minutes.
After an ambitious Wood penalty fell short, Brods added two more tries in the last five minutes of the half with fullback Matty Hoyle showing good finishing skills and improving young prop Amir Kozhani rounding off some excellent support play.
Barratt’s arrival, which allowed another ex-Ovenden Park player Joe Bartlett to go back to his normal scrum half role, proved a major tonic for the visitors.
They mounted strong forward pressure at the start of the second period and centre Steve Mason pulled back five points on 48 minutes.
However, their comeback hopes were dashed by two tries in three minutes from Brods, who surged into a 27-5 lead entering the final quarter.
Good play from Phil Town wide on the left enabled Brooke to go round behind the posts and when Bartlett failed to deal with centre Town’s kick through, replacement Cameron Root finished off.
A surprise yellow card for Jennings on the hour and a string of decisions against them hit Brods’ fluency in the final quarter.
Jason Wignall plunged over just to the left of the posts for Wath and when Brods’ replacement prop Matt Raven also saw yellow near the end, Ed Melmouth touched down for the visitors’ third try.
However, Aussie lock Ross had the last word for Brods, swatting aside two opponents in a dash near the touchline before crashing over in the corner.