Old Brodleians were left to reflect on a gift first try they conceded to table-toppers Bradford and Bingley at soggy Woodhead yesterday.
The Hipperholme men eventually lost by 19-3 to the Yorkshire One title favourites, but were 3-0 up just before half time when visiting centre Lachlan Moore intercepted for a converted try.
“That killed us mentally,” said Brods coach Matt Smith, whose side conceded two more tries in the third quarter before holding their confident, strong-running visitors against the slope for the final 20 minutes.
The Bees were making it 17 wins from 18 games this season, as they look to bounce back from relegation, and would no doubt have been confident of bagging a four-try bonus point in better conditions.
However, Smith was justifiably satisfied with the efforts of his injury-plagued squad, hard-working centre Phil Town earning particular praise from the Leeds Carnegie lock.
The absence of main lineout jumper Bob Sykes proved no handicap, with Matt Raven doing a sterling job, but Brods suffered further disruption when stand-off Tom Andrews limped off with an ankle injury after 10 minutes.
Stand-in scrum half Matt Hoyle had already kicked Brods in front by that stage, and when Bees were caught in possession and conceded a penalty, the home side opted to kick for touch.
The home forwards appeared to have the edge at this stage. A driving maul was dragged down twice by the visitors, who then collapsed two scrums close to their own line and were penalised for a third scrum offence.
The young referee, who generally had a good game, opted to yellow card both Bees props, Roger Raper and Ryan Wederell in quick succession but not to award a penalty try.
Poor control of the ball at the next scrum and then a handling error by Brods let the 13-man Bees off the hook and the visitors lifted their game with determined driving and powerful rucking.
Disaster struck for Brods at a scrum 40 metres from their own line when Hoyle’s pass felt short of Liam Scott, who eventually picked up the ball out of the mud and lobbed it straight into the arms of Moore, who strolled in at the side of the posts. Richard Scull converted to give the visitors a 7-3 interval lead.
Bees produced some fine handling in the conditions for winger Adam Mitchell to speed in at the corner on 44 minutes.
When the impressive Moore embarrassed the home defence from an inside pass and Scull converted, it was 19-3 after 56 minutes and it seemed just a case of how many the visitors would win by,
However, Brods stuck to their guns well and produced the best move of the final quarter with Michael Briggs, Town and Hoyle combining over 60 metres and replacement winger Ben Barron threatening on the right.