Brods outmuscled in first league loss

Brods travelled to Acklam Park in bouyant mood heading the North One East table but in the knowledge that they would be facing their first real away test against a Middlesbrough side who had only lost once at promotion favourites Billingham.

The home side used their superior pack size to their advantage and their talented scrum half Peter Wright was able to control the game.

The game opened with the home side kicking off with a fresh breeze to their advantage.

Brods were immediately tested as the home team dominated possession and territory and from a ruck close to the Brods line, scrum half Young picked up and darted to the line to give the home side an early lead.

Brods secured their first taste of possession and Luke Scrimshaw, Ollie Akroyd and Jamie McLaughlin combined to test Middlebrough in midfield. The home team defended well and moved the ball back to the Brods line, using their heavyweight pack to maul with good effect and their blind side flanker drove over from short distance to extend their lead to 12-0 with the converted try.

Brods fought their way back, moving through the phases and from a quick tap penalty exerted their own pressure. Middlesbough conceded a penalty and Danny Wood took advantage to land the goal.

Brods were getting back into the contest and frustrated the home forwards as they conceded a further penalty in midfield at a set scrum. The home team’s open side flanker Martin Dixon disagreed with the referee and with repeated offences was marched back 30 metres to provide Wood with a further opportunity which he took calmly and reduced the deficit to 13-6.

Just as Brods were looking comfortable the Teessiders once more gained territory and from a lineout on the Brods 22 Mathew Helm ran from deep to beat several defenders in a powerful charge to the line. The try was converted by Wright for 19-6.

Brods then lost McLaughlin to a shoulder injury and David Skinner to the sin-bin and Middlesbrough took a further penalty to extend the lead to 22-6 at half time.

A strong run from Chris Hartley rejuvenated the Brods and they drove into the Middlesbrough half where they took on their bigger opponents with a strong rolling maul to the home line. The ball was moved swiftly right and Wood stepped sweetly out of the attempted tackles to score between the posts, the conversion taking the score to 22-13.

Brods looked to up the ante but Middlesbrough had different ideas and it was back to defensive duties for the visitors.

Jonjo Ward was tireless in defence and with Joe Fee also working hard Brods repelled the Middlesbrough pressure.

Brods were frustrating the home side, who saw two players receiving yellow cards for dissent. However, the visitors could not secure sufficient possession, particularly from the lineout, to threaten the home team. Middlesbrough took their chances with a further try and a penalty goal. Brods again took the game to the hosts but when the home side’s left wing hacked on to score the game was up.

Old Brodleians seconds produced a brilliant, gutsy finale to gain an epic 31 - 26 victory against a strong Otley side.

Trailing 12-26 with 20 minutes to go, Brods showed some fantastic character to drag themselves back into the game, before James Marshall got on the end of flowing handling move to surge in by the flag for a late, late winner.