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No bonus but Bradford Salem keep top-four hopes alive
Bradford Salem 22 Hullensians 12
Bradford Salem moved into fifth place in SSE Yorkshire Two after a hard-fought win over Hullensians at Shay Lane.
Salem got off to the best possible start, when, in their very first attacking move, full-back Danny Belcher burst through a gap and unselfishly sent winger Sam Savage over on the right, fly half Andy Robinson landing the conversion to give his side an early 7-0 lead.
After such a confident start, the home side looked like they would soon add to this tally, but, despite being on top, a loose pass from flanker Rhys Green was intercepted by Hullensians to gift them a try under the posts and get them back on level terms at 7-7.
This setback did not seem to affect the Bradford side and they were soon back in front when Belcher outpaced the visitors’ defence for a brilliant solo effort, improved by Robinson to give his side a 14-7 lead.
Things got better for Salem when prop John Bradbury scored his first try of the season after forcing his way over from a driving maul, and, although Robinson missed the conversion, with a 19-7 lead and three tries in the bag, the home side would have been eyeing a bonus-point win.
However, once again, the Heaton outfit were guilty of not turning the screw and some poor tackling allowed Hullensians to score a second try to reduce the arrears to 19-12 at the break.
In the second half, Salem seemed unable to retain possession and only some excellent last-ditch tackling kept Hullensians at bay.
The game soon developed into a bit of an arm-wrestle and although Salem’s backs continued to look dangerous, they were having to live off scraps.
Salem had an opportunity to make the game safe but Belcher’s long-range penalty attempt drifted wide of the uprights.
However, moments later South Yorkshire referee Jason Garrick awarded the home side another penalty and this time Robinson’s effort crept over the cross-bar to put his side ahead by 22-12 with only minutes remaining.
Salem looked like they might have secured a bonus point in the dying seconds but the pass which would have sent winger Danny Thomas over was judged to have gone forward.
In the end, Salem had to be content with a four-point victory which keeps alive their hopes of a top-four finish.