By Dale Earnshaw

Corby Nasaqa was Man of the Match on President’s Day as Laund Hill ground out a hard-fought 14-11 victory over Bramley Phoenix.

The story of the game, however, was the 21 penalties conceded by Laund Hill which could have proved costly.

Celebrations in the clubhouse didn’t spill out onto the field as the home team were found guilty of a number of offences in the early exchanges, gifting four penalties to Bramley in the opening five minutes. The last one was in easy kickable range, allowing the visitors to take a 3-0 lead.

The home team didn’t seem to learn from their transgressions and fell foul of the referee on a couple more occasions.

From a quick tap, Bramley raced down field in numbers and just had winger Kyle Sharp to beat. Standing up to the challenge, Sharp came up with a try saving tackle and, luckily for his side, the ball was turned over to relieve the pressure.

With 20 minutes gone, Laund Hill had their first real attack of the game and the dominant scrum earned a penalty within range. Unfortunately, Tom Egan pushed the kick wide and Bramley were once again able to get out of their own half.

As the half went on, Laund Hill conceded more penalties allowing Bramley to have the upper hand. When they forced a goal-line drop-out, it looked like Laund Hill were clinging on and would be lucky to get to the break without conceding any more points.

However, with just a couple of minutes left of the half, they were able to string a number of phases together to starve Bramley of further possession.

Succumbing to the pressure, Bramley conceded a penalty and a quick tap edged Laund Hill close to the line. From this position, the forwards took over with a number of quick pick and drives. Prop forward Sean Barrett collected the ball just inches from the line and was unstoppable as he dived over for the try. Egan added the extras.

At half-time, the coaches asked to see an improvement in the discipline and structure but as the second half started, more penalties were conceded. One was for a high-tackle in front of the posts which Bramley converted to take them to within one point.

Holding onto the lead, Laund Hill launched an attack on half-way and looked to get the ball out to the wing. However, a Bramley knock-on was adjudged to have been deliberate and the offending player was shown the first yellow card of the game.

With the extra man, Laund Hill should really have taken advantage. Unfortunately, yet more indiscipline crept in and when Tom Dalton gave away a penalty at the break-down, the referee had had enough and showed him a yellow card.

This cost his side dearly as Bramley got close to the Laund Hill line, earned another penalty and beat the defence to score a try to take them back into the lead.

As the game moved into the final quarter, chances were few and far between. Another Laund Hill penalty was missed and Kyle Sharp went close following a cross-field kick but it wasn’t until the final five minutes that they were able to put together numerous phases of play.

This caused Bramley a lot of problems and put them on the back-foot. Conceding a cynical penalty, they were once again shown a yellow card and, on this occasion, it did work in Laund Hill’s favour.

A late surge saw the home team held up over the line and Bramley were unable to clear the ball far enough down field to relieve the pressure.

As Laund Hill worked their way close to the line once again, and as the clock ticked into the final minute, Archie Walsh took the ball down an undefended blind-side and dived over for the match-winning try.

Despite claiming another victory and being just one win off second place, the story of the game is the 21 penalties that the side conceded with head coach James Tindall demanding an improvement before next week’s coach trip to Ripon.

Matchday Squad: Egan, Sharp K, Evans, Longley, Burns-Smith, Earnshaw, Vernon; Burt, Hill, Barrett, Dalton, Black (c), Watson, Bender, Nasaqa. Replacements:  Walsh, Geisler, Crotty.