Old Brodleians 15 Huddersfield YMCA 36
BRODS conceded a double to the Yorkshire One leaders and derby rivals from Laund Hill, their performance falling away after a promising start against the Woodhead slope.
John Cole’s side trailed only 10-8 when young stand off Dan Wood kicked a penalty on 31 minutes but YM scored a converted try before the break and added 19 points in 12 minutes just after the hour mark to surge clear.
For Brods it was an improvement on the 52-3 thumping in the away fixture in mid-September and there was some relief in that the two teams below them in the table, Barnsley and Knottingley, also failed to collect any points at home.
Brods made one late change with long-serving prop Jamie McLaughlin getting a start at the expense of Alex Dawson, who dropped to the bench.
On a gloomy but thankfully dry day, Brods started well, aided by a solid forward platform against a YM side whose real strength lies in the backs.
James Ogden was finding lineout jumpers Kyle Millward and Matt Willis well and Brods twice drove over the YM line in the opening seven minutes, No 8 Rob Jennings getting the ball down on the second occasion. Wood’s conversion attempt 10 metres in from the touchline hit a post.
It was then the turn of the visiting forwards to make ground with the ball in hand. The home defence was excellent initially and the visitors had to be satisfied with an easy Gavin Stead penalty on 17 minutes.
Brods had been determined not to kick the ball to YM’s dangerous back three but they did just that on 25 minutes and the quicksilver Lloyd Bentley, son of 13 and 15-a-side international John, sped in at the corner. Stead converted expertly for a 5-10 scoreline.
A wickedly-bouncing restart earned Brods a lineout 20 metres out and they cashed in on the position, Wood picking up three points as the visitors’ Damian Clayton reluctantly trooped off to the sin bin.
The 14-man YM were quick to respond. Young home scrum half Dominic Georgiou was struggling to get the ball away in the face of a marauding visiting back row and when his kick close to his own line was charged down, Brods were forced to concede a lineout. No 8 Mark Whitehead scored from the resulting catch and drive and Stead’s excellent kick made it 8-17.
Intense Brods pressure before the break failed to yield a score but the home side were very much in the game as they turned round to play down the slope.
However, YM dominated field position in the second half and Brods’ performance, in spite of valiant efforts from the likes of Millward, Willis and Lee Scrimshaw, became more fragmented.
They weathered an early storm but the likes of big centre Adam Ryder were starting to bump off home tacklers and YM returned Wood’s clearance with interest, Sam Hodge scoring an unconverted try wide on the left.
Tempers were starting to fray and when Millward was yellow carded the YM put the game to bed with two converted tries in the space of three minutes through Josh Lumb and No 8 Whitehead, who was incredibly bagging his 27th score of the season.
YM replacement Fabrizio Leone-Mazza was sin binned for a spear tackle, allowing Brods to mount late pressure and earn their second try through winger Michael Briggs’ determined finish. Wood’s kick went over via both uprights.