Match Date: 19/11/2011
Competition: Hudson Foster Bradford Cup (Semi-Final)
Result: Odsal Sedbergh A 28 Wibsey Warriors A 30
Heartbreak for Sedge
Report by James Sharp
The stage was set for an upset of massive proportions for Odsal to be taking the stage in the cup final, only to have victory snatched at the death in a close fought game. The game itself meant that Odsal would have to overcome their local rivals to get to the cup final, and was the toughest passage from the other two teams involved in the draw, but from a season of upsetting the odds against teams in higher divisions last term, Sedge felt pretty confident of overcoming them again this time around.
The game started with the home side attacking down the slope, which they normally prefer the away side to do, but after losing the toss, the Odsal captain decided to kick off and put pressure on Wibsey in the opening of the game, and this was a choice that came off well, with Sedge forcing a very early error, and with the Wibsey side looking lost and scattered, hooker Robert Booth, as his trademark has now become, dummied from acting half and crashed over to gift Odsal an early lead, and with the conversion added, Sedge led by six after their first stint of possession.
The jubilant underdogs had switched off though, and after a short spell of defence from both sides, the larger Wibsey pack used their size to set up an attacking opportunity to gain an attacking position, and with an inside ball close to the host’s line, a prop forward crashed over and after adding the extras, the game was tied once again.
The visitors, currently sitting second in division five, were rattled by their more enthusiastic opponents, and conceded numerous penalties to invite Sedge down the field with more chances to attack. Wibsey did manage to withstand a lot of pressure on their own line, forcing numerous repeat sets and making them work hard coming away from their own line with the ball. This pressure eventually told, when Robert Booth again took advantage of some poor marker work to score in his typical way.
A mention has to go out to Joe Bartle, who was outstanding in the forwards for Sedge, marching them down the field every time he touched the ball, and had reminded people of the effort he can put in when he puts his mind to it. Also in the forwards, Tom Robinson had a consistent day taking the ball to the line as was solid as ever in defence.
Just before the half was up, Odsal’s hard work was undone as the visitors scored to take the game into half-time with the scores level, but Sedge could rightly feel they had the upper-hand against the favourites to retain their trophy outright. There has been a lot of new faces in the second team this year, and one of the most enthusiastic is Twinny, who finally got a reward for his hard work, after finding a gap close to the line and using his strength and size to crash over. The scoring followed the same pattern, with Wibsey using an overlap to score on the open side after good hands set up the centre the easy task to stroll over, but with the conversion missed, Sedge led by two and still had their tails up.
With the forwards continuously working hard up the slope, the backs were also grafting to take the ball up the park, and after again setting up some good field position, and this time it was scrum half Ryan Exley to test the Wibsey defence, squeezing the ball down under some heavy pressure to push Odsal eight points ahead after the conversion was kicked.
The consistent fault with Odsal’s game was their indiscipline, which was what had let Wibsey score on every occasion, and after the scoring continued to swap between the sides, Sedge still held a two point lead when Scott Smith was found on a flat ball from hooker Robert Booth to dive over, but after the kick was missed, it meant only a six point lead for Sedge. The scoring was once again Wibsey’s, touching down the same side they kept finding an overlap, but the kick again was missed leaving Sedge up by two, up until the visitor’s stand-off ghosted in untouched to give Wibsey the lead for the first time.
With time against the home team, they experienced the same luck as they have had in close games all season, with Danny Gregory landing a huge bomb on the cross bar, Twinny failed to gather the loose ball with the line gaping for him to make himself a hero. The drama followed right to the last minute, with Odsal getting a penalty within kicking distance, captain James Sharp decided to take the two points for extra time, but after pushing his kick wide the game was gone. Or so everyone involved thought, and after another penalty from the resulting drop-out, Sedge decided to run the ball after seeing space out wide, only for the ball to be put down by Matty Brewerton and the final whistle to go, leaving Sedge distraught after coming so close to the final.
The game, on paper, is a quality result for Odsal, but try telling that to the squad that fought tooth and nail to come away with nothing. Next up is a trip to Newsome Panthers in the Pennine cup, and on this performance, a very winnable game.