Brods power to victory

Brods v Bradford Salem 0031 is Andy Clay scoring our first try

Brods v Bradford Salem 0031 is Andy Clay scoring our first try

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Old Brodleians harvested another five league points as the battle for promotion in Yorkshire One intensified yesterday.

The third-placed Hipperholme men beat Bradford Salem 25-11 at Woodhead, Pete Williams scoring their four-try bonus point with only two minutes remaining.

However, there was limited encouragement from elsewhere with second-placed West Leeds winning 41-8 at Selby and fourth-placed York rocking clear leaders Bridlington with a 30-15 success.

“We’ve got to keep winning,” said Brods coach Danny Monk, who was in sole charge yesterday with Matt Smith on Yorkshire Carnegie duty at Bedford.

“Anybody can beat anybody in this division and if you lose a couple of games you could be out of it,” he added.

Brods, who have a rearranged game at Heath next Saturday, made their forward dominance tell to complete a double over Salem, having won 31-15 at Shay Lane on October 1.

Strong-running No 8 Rob Jennings led a powerful effort from the home pack, who frequently shunted Salem off their scrum ball, while Monk thought skipper Ollie Akroyd was close to top form.

Salem arrived in good form, having won five of their previous six games, but after the boost of an early try down the slope they were always playing second fiddle.

Danny Belcher was first to a clever chip over the top, as the visitors took advantage of an error-riddled start from Brods, but the full back was unable to convert his fifth-minute try.

Brods responded with a powerful driving maul over 30 metres - a sign of things to come - and they drew level on 14 minutes.

Prop Matt Raven stole the ball on half-way and Michael Briggs and Zak Thompson sent Andy Clay away close to the left hand touchline. The experienced centre dived over in the corner.

Young scrum half Tom Bracewell couldn’t add the extras but slotted an easy penalty on 23 minutes after concerted pressure in which Briggs had gone close.

Akroyd strode away down the middle but his pass to Briggs was too low and when Salem got a rare sight of the home try line they fumbled the ball as their forwards took it in turns to pick up and drive.

Brods scored an excellent second unconverted try on 31 minutes.

Jennings drove superbly from the base of a scrum deep in home territory. From the next phase of play James Marshall, Briggs and finally stand off Dan Cole, backing up in excellent fashion, figured in a sweeping move which shredded the visiting defence.

Salem ate into Brods’ 13-5 lead with two Belcher penalties in four minutes at the end of the half, a yellow card for Akroyd adding to home anxieties.

The home forwards controlled play in a disjointed third quarter but Brods were unable to produce any fluency in the backs with Salem’s speed off the mark in defence the best feature of their play.

It took sheer brute force to see the home men over the line.

Referee Kevin Weston, who previously hadn’t endeared himself to home supporters in a healthy crowd of around 250, awarded Brods a penalty try on 63 minutes when an advancing scrum was collapsed near the try line. Bracewell’s conversion made it 20-11.

There were a couple of flare-ups involving little firebrand Briggs before Brods clinched victory from a five metre scrum, lock Williams dropping on the ball before climbing to his feet with a broad, satisfied grin.