Giving each of this weekend's games a post of its own this week so no worries West Park Leeds Ladies, I will get round to you very soon. Saturday was all about the Bees of Bradford & Bingley. To be honest, I wasn't intending to be at Wagon Lane in Bingley but I'm very glad I made it there though. From a photographic point of view (and possibly a rugby one too, I'm not qualified to judge) it was a classic.
The intention had been to go and see West Park Leeds' men in action to try and provide the club with some shots for their website and marketing. Trouble was, conditions were very dark and the likelihood of crisp, clean pictures was very low (ironically the sun shone brightly on the club's women the following day, but more of that later). Second choice was high flying Old Brodleians against even higher flying Scarborough - a near top of the table clash. Getting there meant driving high into the Pennines and as I did so the mist dropped and, more worryingly, heavy slow began to fall.
Having been caught out in the snow a couple of weeks ago, it was back into the relative safety of the valley for me. Although there was no snow in Bingley, the temperature was just above freezing and the rain was threatening constantly. The first team pitch was not quite as muddy as that of Harrogate Ladies last Sunday but it was still bad enough for the sides to become virtually indistinguishable from each other as the game progressed.
Has to be said, Huddersfield YMCA began the brighter of the two teams, occupying Bees' territory for much of the opening quarter. Their frustration at not being able to break through must have been compounded when the Bees burst out of defence and scored with a run from winger Inoke Finau . Here was the first bit of luck from my point of view. After ten minutes of little or no photographing, he touched down right at my feet!
This pattern continued throughout the game. Each time Huddersfield began to string a few passes together and pose a threat, the Bees went to the other end and scored. Although this was undoubtedly a an effective team effort, the Bees' potency was greatly enhanced by newcomer Fuifui Moimoi. Despite being in the sin bin for ten minutes he still had enough time to score a try of his own and provide returnee James Morton with a score mid way through the second half. My temporary magnetic powers exerted a force once more as he dived over the line close by. I'd like to have crouched lower down to get the full effect of his leap but it wasn't quite worth getting a face full of mud.
The conditions were not great for playing or watching rugby but they did help to provide dramatic pictures. There was even steam rising off the scrums. Brilliant! You can see more pictures over on Flickr and read a more detailed report on the game here. If you're a glutton for punishment you can see even more pictures here, including the ones used in my latest Instagram Story. Feel free to download the ones you see of yourself - a little contribution for doing so would be gratefully accepted.