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Bradford Salem are the entertainers in derby victory
Bradford Salem 41, West Park Leeds 25
Bradford Salem secured their first victory of 2013, winning 41-25 in an entertaining SSE Yorkshire Division Two game against West Park Leeds at Shay Lane.
The home side took an early 3-0 lead courtesy of a penalty from fly half Andy Robinson, and the former Wibsey Warriors player also had a hand in Salem's first try, his well-placed cross-kick bouncing kindly for winger Danny Thomas, allowing him to casually stroll over the line.
Robinson added the extras to take Salem into a 10-0 lead but the visitors responded with a penalty from fly half Phil Davies to reduce the arrears to 10-3.
Salem extended their advantage almost immediately when classy full back Danny Belcher hacked through from inside his own half and won the foot race to score a fine try improved by Robinson to put the home side ahead 17-3 after only 20 minutes.
Unfortunately, for the second week in succession, the Bradford side were guilty of taking their foot off the pedal, and this allowed West Park back into the game.
Salem found it difficult to contain the visitors' very effective "pick-and-go" tactic, and the pressure eventually told as the Leeds side scored a well-worked try in the right corner.
Davies landed the difficult conversion, and soon afterwards struck a penalty to make the half-time score 17-13.
Salem started the second half in positive fashion and, after some excellent interpassing on the left flank, Thomas was on hand to score his second try, improved by Robinson to take the Heaton side into a 24-13 lead.
The Bradford pack were now starting to dominate the scrums and, after a period of intense pressure on the West Park line, skipper and man-of-the-match Damien Pearson picked up from the base of a five-metre scrummage and drove over the try line to take his side into an unassailable 29-13 advantage
Salem then scored the try of the match when Sam Savage, who had moved from the centre on to the wing after Carl Walker had left the field with a groin injury, finished off a brilliant set move in the backs, Robinson landing the touchline conversion to extend the home side's advantage to 36-13.
To their credit, West Park did not allow their heads to drop and they scored a converted try to bring the score to 36-20 but any chances of a late fightback were scuppered when the outstanding Pearson drove over for his second try to put Salem out of sight at 41-20.
The home side were eyeing a half-century and looked like reaching this target when Simon Davies took a short pass to storm over the line.
However, the big prop, who had otherwise put in a strong performance, dropped the ball over the line and the chance went begging.
The let-off clearly lifted the visitors' spirits and they managed to score a third try to give a final score-line of 41-25.
It was a much-improved display from Salem which keeps alive their slim hopes of launching a late push for promotion.