Late Danny Belcher try gives Bradford Salem pre-season derby victory

Former Keighley skipper Andy Bennett was outstanding for Bradford Salem

Former Keighley skipper Andy Bennett was outstanding for Bradford Salem

First published in Sport by

Old Brodleians 22, Bradford Salem 26

Bradford Salem's completed their pre-season programme with a last-gasp victory over SSE Yorkshire Division One outfit Old Brodleians at Woodhead Park.

In what proved to be a see-saw battle, Salem had to withstand an onslaught on their own try mline in the opening minutes after Ilkley-based referee Graham Hall penalised them for being offside from an attempted clearance kick.

Although Salem defended heroically, the pressure eventually told and Brods forced their way over the line from close range to take a 5-0 lead.

After getting their first taste of possession, Salem's backs soon began to show some flair, and slick handling created sufficient room for new signing Ryan Smith to dummy his way over, full back Danny Belcher tagging on the extras to put the visitors 7-5 ahead.

Salem continued to dominate but were guilty of not taking their chances and then, against the run of play, a speculative chip and chase by Brods in their own 22 led to a length-of-the-field breakaway converted try to give the Hipperholme side a 12-7 advantage.

Then, after being awarded a penalty in the dying seconds of the half and with no time for a line-out, the home side showed what respect they had for Salem's defence by electing to take three points to give them a 15-7 lead at the break.

Salem began to play with increasing confidence in the second half and soon reduced the arrears to three points at 15-12 when No 8 and former Keighley skipper Andy Bennett, who had an outstanding game, managed to drive over in the corner after good work from the rest of the pack.

The visitors were now on top and regained the lead when centre Smith cut a great line from a planned move, the former Wibsey Warrior ghosting through the home midfield defences to score his second try under the sticks.

Belcher added the simple conversion to give his side a smell of victory with the scoreline at 19-15 in their favour with only ten minutes remaining.

Old Brods had other ideas, however, and not only did they seem to raise their game but Salem began to slip off tackles.

For the first time in the game, Brods managed to cut through the Salem defence and, although a desperate last-ditch tackle from Sam Savage looked to have saved the day, a try was awarded and the added conversion looked like it would seal a 22-19 victory for the home side.

Salem however refused to lie down and launched an attack down the left. Acting skipper and fly half Andy Robinson somehow managed to dummy his way through a gap and showed great vision to chip the ball towards the posts, Belcher winning the chase to score a fine try which he improved himself to seal an excellent 26-22 victory.

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