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Bradford Salem have measure of Moortown
Moortown 16 Bradford Salem 43
Bradford Salem secured what, in the end, proved to be a comfortable win over struggling Moortown but experienced a few wobbles on the way.
In fact, the home side had an opportunity to take the lead in the opening minute of the game after Salem were penalised straight from the kick-off but the resultant penalty attempt drifted wide of the uprights.
Salem took a 3-0 lead courtesy of a penalty from fly-half Andy Robinson and shortly afterwards they just failed to score from a length of the field counter-attack when the final pass was judged to have gone forward.
Nevertheless, the visitors continued to pile on the pressure and after more swift handling, a planned move in the backs allowed winger Sam Savage to ghost through a gap and race 30 metres for an excellent try, improved by Robinson, to put the visitors ahead 10-0.
It was then the Salem pack’s turn to show what they could do, and, after a period of intense pressure on the Moortown line, openside flanker Dave Hutton was on hand to force his way over from a driving maul.
Robinson added the extras and, with the scoreline at 17-0 after only 25 minutes of play, Salem looked like they might emulate their emphatic 62-16 over Moortown earlier in the season.
However, the Leeds side had other ideas, and, although Salem’s cause wasn’t helped when their influential skipper Damien Pearson had to leave the field with a hamstring injury, they hit back with a try and penalty to reduce the arrears to 17-8 at the break.
Early in the second half, Moortown got to within a score at 17-11 following a further successful penalty and at this point the home side seemed to be in the ascendancy.
Salem weathered the storm, and, even with limited possession, their backs looked capable of scoring from anywhere. Winger Danny Thomas settled Salem nerves when he scored after some fine inter-passing and Robinson’s successful conversion gave the visitors a 24-11 lead.
The introduction of former Dudley Hill star Tony Williams from the bench seemed to provide Salem with the spark they needed and after a sweeping move which started on their own line, Williams himself was in support of Thomas to score a brilliant try improved by Robinson to put his side into a clear 31-11 lead.
The lead was extended to 36-11 when ever-dangerous full back Danny Belcher broke through several would-be tacklers for a fine individual try and with 15 minutes to go Salem were eyeing a 50-pointer.
However, to their credit, Moortown refused to throw in the towel and they capitalised on some sloppy play from Salem to score a try which reduced the arrears to 36-16.
Despite this minor setback, Salem finished the match in style as Savage went over for his second try after more excellent handling in the backs, Robinson tagging on the conversion to seal a 43-16 victory.