Pontefract RUFC earned two bonus points that secured their status in Yorkshire One for another year, but were disappointed to lose 34-27 in their last league game of the season at Bridlington on Saturday.
Ponte travelled to the blustery east coast needing a result to ensure they avoided relegation and with their recent good form they were optimistic of gaining a victory that could complete a rare double over traditionally robust opponents and move them up the table.
But the problems that have plagued them all season were all too evident with aimless kicking, atrocious tackling and poor execution of basic skills resulting in Brid racing to a 15-0 lead in the first 10 minutes. Luckily the home kicker had left his boots at home.
As ponte rallied two great opportunities went begging as the final pass from the misfiring backs drifted forward much to the disbelief of the travelling support.
The scrum began to dominate and the visitors pressed the home line forcing a string of penalties. They were rewarded when Matty Hargreaves burrowed over by the posts for a converted try from one of his trademark quick taps.
Great forward pressure then saw Matty Williams muscle his way over the line to bring Ponte back into the game at 15-12. The conversion attempt by Andy Dean drifted narrowly wide.
The home side came back with a period of pressure which saw them collect a bonus point and give themselves some relief from a Pontefract side that was beginning to dominate the possession and territory.
But a decent move from the backs saw Rob Novak gallop down the wing before putting in clever cross kick that was lost over the line by the usually rock solid Richard Scott. Another chance had gone.
However, it was not long before Williams went over again and Dean’s conversion made it 20-19 at the interval.
The second half started with the Ponte forwards driving the ball up field, creating good attacking positions from which a Dean penalty gave the visitors the lead for the first time at 22-20.
The home side found some new resolve and energy that halted the visitors celebrations by scoring a well taken try that was converted to retake the lead at 27-22.
It was Ponte’s turn to dig deep and they did it in style, producing a beautiful try for Jordan Gill who elegantly split the Brid defence to bring about a bonus point and level the game.
Both teams seemed to be happy with a draw as the final whistle approached, but Ponte went for the win as the forwards drove a maul 20 metres towards the home try line. However, what happened next just about summed up their season. From a threatening attacking position a series of errors, charge downs and unfortunate bounces allowed the hosts to snatch victory with a late try.
The backs, who have played some fantastic rugby this season had an off day but produced the best try of the day with a great shift put in by the pack led by MOM Matty Williams, supported by Chris Maxi and Matty Hargreaves.
Despite the blustery conditions that contributed to a scrappy, typical end of season contest, the team secured two bonus points that secured their league status and ended the season on a high.
Pontefract seconds’ penultimate game of the season against Huddersfield YM seconds did not produce a win for the home side, but they continued to display their ever improving rugby skills, team spirit and commitment with bags of enthusiasm which augurs well for next season’s renewed rugby campaign.
They went down 21-0 against a well organised outfit, the opposition tries coming from Pontefract’s unforced errors during attack.
Stand-outs in the game were second team player of the season Scott Hawkins, scrum-half Dan Wheater and captain James Heath with his attacking play. Ben Jones tackled himself to a standstill and promising winger Lyndon Swift went close to getting points on the board for Pontefract.
Veteran prop Colin Swift and highly promising prop Josh Hough kept the Pontefract pack in contention.
Pontefract second are away to Ionians thirds this Saturday.