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It was a famous old name from the glory days of Super League's start taking on an also-ran from those days who dropped out in disarray back in 2003.

But at the the Championship's Summer Bash in 2022, it was Bradford Bulls who are the club in disarray while Halifax Panthers entered the game as a top-four club in everyone's sights

Fax had first use of the ball with a good set followed by a charge-down of the Bulls' first kick, which set the Panthers up in an ideal attacking position for their second set, and getting over the line - but they failed to ground ground the ball.

It was the Panthers who opened the scoring, to no great surprise - they were the clear pre-game favourites. A quick pass from Louis Jouffret following a play-the-ball on the Bulls' line found Ben Tibbs who powered over to score the first try. There was no conversion and the score stood at 0-4.

Things got worse for the Bradford outfit when Ben Evans was taken off for a head-knock assessment after an untidy tackle on 11 minutes.

Fax's lead then doubled on 15 minutes when a high ball from Jouffret and an advancing Panthers' kick-chase meant the Bulls couldn't collect the ball, which spilled forward and gave Halifax another set just 10 yards out. 

A couple of passes and prop Jake Fairbank ran over for the blue-and-whites' second score. This time Joe Keyes made no mistake withs the goal and 'Fax led 10-0.

As the game reached the half-hour mark, though, Bradford started putting good defensive sets together, making sure 'Fax didn't get everykthing all their own way - but without moving the scoreboard. even though they dived and rolled over the try line with dotting the ball down.

And when Ryan Millar did get on the end of a Kieron Gill kick and ground the ball, the score was ruled out for a knock on.

Both teams were beginning to see their energy fall off, and errors crepti n from both sets of players, although after Halifax's start the Bulls were doing well to keep gap at just 20 points as half-time approached.

The energy gap told most on Bradford though. Their failure to put pressure on 'Fax Fullback James Woodburn-Hall saw him safely pouch a ball in space and run, setting off a period of play which saw offload follow offload until they kicked for the Bulls' tryline.

Bulls full back Joe Burton looked to have the loose ball covered as he raced back, but with two attack Panthers running alongside and pressurising him, he left the ball loose when he dived for it. That left Zack McComb with a simple pick-up and jog to the posts to dot the ball down in a sucker-punch for Bradford.

Keyes took the score to 16-0 as the half-time hooter sounded.

Bradford had the first pressure on their opponenets' line when the game resumed, forcing a goal-line  drop out and then being held up on the repeat set. 

The game settled into more of a grind over the next qaurter of an hour, though the Bulls forced two more drop-outs - but also gave away a penalty while in possession in the 'Fax half ... and on the first tackle.

On 55 minutes though, the game boiled over into a multi-player scuffle which saw the Panthers reduced to 12 men when Joe Martin was red carded for running in.

But that set 'Fax on Fire, Woodburn-Hall grabbed the ball near his own line and raced 90 metres before a last-gasp tackle grounded him just short of the Bradford line. The next play saw them held up over the line on the opposite line before the ball moved to the left again and McComb ran through to dive ona kick-through and dislocate his shoulder in the process - while Bradford's Flanagan was sin-binned for dissent.

Keyes converted and Halifax led 22-0 - but not for long. With both teams reduced to 12, Bradford moved the ball down to the Halifax tryline and Kieran Gill dived over from dummy half to register the Bulls' first points. Delclan Patton goaled it and it was 12 men playing 12 with a 6-22 score.

When Flanagan returned to the field for the final 10 minuted, Bradford started to move the Halifax defence around. But again they couldn't take advantage of their numbers or any gaps in the 'Fax defence.

Instead, the Panthers started to dominate and kept play in the Bulls' half, forcing drop-out after drop-out, and six-again repeats, and still managed to number up in defence.

In the final minutes though, it was Bradford who forced a drop-out and a repeat set. But points proved as elusive as their creative chances and in the end, the clock ran out on the Bulls, despite an unforced Halifax knock-on

Bradford Bulls: Burton; Dawson-Jones, R Evans, Gill (T), Millar; Kear, Patton (G); B Evans, Doyle, Crossley, England, Butler, Hallar. Subs: Flanagan (Yellow 59), Walker, Cannon, Murphy. 

Halifax Panthers:  Woodburn-Hall; McComb (2T), Worthington, Tibbs (T), Saltonstall; Jouffret, Keyes (3G); Calcott, Moore, Murray, Kavanagh, Garside, Fairbank (T). Subs: Wood, Barber, Morris, Martin (Red 55).

Half Time: 0-16

Full Time: 6-22

Score Progression: 0-4, 0-8, 0-10, 0-14, 0-16, HT.  0-20, 0-22, 4-22, 6-22.

Lead: Halifax.

Referee: Mike Smaill




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Posted by RLFANS News Hound on Sat 30th Jul 2022 7:25 PM | Views : 11045 | Replies : 0 | BACK TO STORIES
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