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Bradford Salem fall to shock defeat on last play
Old Rishworthians 36, Bradford Salem 33
Bradford Salem lost further ground in SSE Yorkshire Division Two after a shock defeat against Old Rishworthians at Copley.
In the opening minutes, Salem were totally dominant and looked certain to score, only for right winger Connor Malarkey to be held up over the line.
Then a further opportunity went begging when skipper and No 8 James Cunliffe dropped the ball with a two-man overlap outside him.
Despite of these early setbacks, Salem still managed to get in front when second-rower John Morrell drove over from close range for a try improved by full back Danny Belcher.
However, Rishworthians hit back when they broke away following a Salem error and, after some excellent off-loading and inter-passing, they scored a converted try to level matters at 7-7.
Lifted by this, Rishworthians began to play with increasing confidence and they caught Salem unawares to score from a kick and chase to take a 12-7 lead.
Two Belcher penalties and one for Rishworthians brought the scores to 15-13 before Salem regained the lead when centre Sam Dunn powered over. However, a further penalty from the home side brought the scores level at 18-18 at the break.
Salem conceded an early try in the second half to go behind but reduced the arrears to two points after a Rishworthians player was sin-binned for killing the ball.
Although their opponents were down to 14 men, Salem were unable to capitalise and conceded two penalties to trail 29-21.
However, after flanker Jamie Booth was held up short of the line, the ball was moved wide, allowing Dunn to score his second try to bring the score-line to 29-26.
With ten minutes remaining, Salem looked like they might snatch victory when replacement No 8 Damien Pearson supported an excellent Belcher break which the classy full back improved to give the visitors a 33-29 lead.
Unfortunately, however, Salem were unable to close the game out and they conceded a series of penalties in the final stages which allowed their opponents to pile on the pressure.
Then, on the final play of the game with Salem down to 14 men after Belcher was sin-binned for an illegal tackle, Rishworthians spun the ball wide and their winger squeezed over in the corner for a try improved from the touchline to steal an ecstatic and unexpected victory.
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