The Wetherby faithful travelled to Wagon Lane for many, their first visit to the Bees ground. The Bees are a club with a great history but have fallen on tougher times recently. However their committee are one of the most accommodating in the league and a testament to what rugby is all about. Indeed, the pork, julienne potatoes and fine green beans set up yours truly for a good afternoon and we were lucky to make the kick off.
It was a good job we did as Wetherby started fast and Yates took on the back line of Bradford and broke through which set up a very promising attack for Wetherby Little flying down the wing and drawing the Bradford defence across. A lovely ball back in to Elliott Reid saw him make more progress in the Bees 22, who took the contact and recycled the ball out to Gilbert who then offloaded to Charlie Yates to score. Lovely flowing rugby from the lads.
Converted by Yates 0-7
From the kickoff Bees forced a knock on from Gilbert and they immediately took advantage driving the play into the Wetherby 22, but even with usual solid defence from Wetherby, they somehow managed to get over the line and score.
7-7 and we were only 4 minutes in!
As the first half started so quickly, the forwards decided to slow it down with the first scrum going to Bradford. Wetherby's now regular front row of Woodworth, Hoather and Kitchen held comfortably, and managed to turn over the ball at the first breakdown. Yates cleared the Wetherby lines to halfway with a big kick in to the wind and pushed Bees back. The following phases of play saw a great turnover by Josh Draper, set up a very promising attack for Wetherby with Little again finding space in front of him on the wing. Will Blakey was being very industrious in the rucks but couldn't quite get his hands legally on the ball which gave Bees a chance of a pressure relieving kick from Bradford.
Despite the start to the game Wetherby weren't having things their own way and found themselves under significant pressure in the 22, but managed to gain possession back from a kick through that Briggs gladly gathered. As is his usual style he bowled over two tacklers and jinked through the remaining back line although Bees were then quick to close him down. But who should be on his shoulder but Kitching to take the offload and "sprinted" up to the halfway line and towards the final line of defence. Unfortunately his legendary pace wasn't enough to evade all tackles and he was brought down in the Bees half.
Redmond was having a very likely lively start to the game and seemed involved in everything. Wetherby gained a penalty from another rolling maul and yet again Yates punted the ball into touch well in the Bradford 22. Hoather threw in and Wetherby start the drive forward to the Bees line, dragging in the Bees defence. The ball came out to Kay and he passed onto Adair, and then onto Yates, who almost refuses to pass, but does eventually and Moses dives over the line to score Wetherby's second try.
Converted by Yates 14-7
From the restart Bees seemed to target Gilbert again hoping he might fumble twice but he had calculated the wind differential on the ball flight correctly this time and set up a brilliant attack from Wetherby, riding four or five tackles eventually offloading to Kaye, who, then found himself in the Bradford half surrounded by Bradford players, with the regular shout from coach Brown to "use it", he flung a pass over to Little, and no one was going to catch him as he cruised down the line to score for Wetherby
Whilst somewhat disorganised, Wetherby were putting on the style and from the restart Little combined with Briggs to take the ball into the Bradford 22, and in true "thinking man's forward" style Hoather had decided to remain on the opposite touchline, just in case the ball was passed back across, which it was, of course. And there are very few wingers in the amateur or professional game who will stop Hoather at pace from 10 yards, and he scored
But this game was not over by a long shot and Wetherby were almost immediately under big pressure in their own 22. Woodworth and Kitching managed to hold the ball up and YAtes cleared the Weth lines. Weth quickly regained position and Harry Kay, somehow found his way through the Bradford defence, but he seems to have lead in his boots and even their prop managed to catch him up eventually. Despite supporting runners of Little Yates, Briggs, Adair , Beeson, Draper and basically the other 14 lads he failed to find a pass and got bundle to the ground. But the momentum he'd created saw Wetherby in the Bees 22 again, Kaye orchestrating some brilliant passes out to his old mate, Adair who saw Little free on the wing and put a beautiful chip over the Bees defence that Little scored.
As the game progressed to half time (phew!) , the Wetherby lineout was purring again with Hoather hitting every target. This set up an impressive run for Adair into the Bradford 22 with Redmond the only supporting runner who accepted the pass but got tackled and with little support the ball was turned over.
As the first half heads towards its conclusion, Gilbert is demonstrating his usual assertive tackling style and leaving Bees bodies all over the pitch, Wetherby were definitely on the front foot. Or so we thought until, in a bizarre mix up in defence, Bradford score in the corner and get the conversion
With the start of the second half Harry Kay continues to have a field day in the middle of the pitch, making another break through the Bradford defence, and despite the shouts from the crowd to pass it, he continues to plough on somewhat like an old Shire horse, yet evading all tackles until the 10 meter line. With the Bradford defence in disarray, the ball was quickly recycled through the backs left an easy try for Little.
Converted by Yates 36-14
Adair and Draper off, Goodall and Ward on.
Wetherby were seemingly now in control in the Bees half and from a line out the usual exit kick was coming but the Bees defence were on it quickly and blocked the kick which fell fortuitously to their player who gathered up the ball and bundled it over the line for their third try.
This game was being played at a frenetic pace and Yates was confounding the opposition with his evasive running style and accurate kicks. He gained yet another break through the Bradford defence, off loaded to Little, and with a shout from Adair who was on the sidelines because he was a bit tired, ”He hasn’t got the gas”, Little proved him wrong and won the footrace and scored Wetherby’s 6th try.
Converted by you know who
Gilbert received a yellow card whilst valiantly defending the Wetherby line and they succumbed to another Bradford try.
With coach Woodworth, having put in a good shift, he was subbed for the Evergreen, Greenwood and Gilbert came back on after his 10 minute rest. With Goodall carded shortly before the end of the game, both players were probably ready to call it a day. A really entertaining end to end rugby match with Wetherby coming out rightful victors!