Bradford Salem’s unhappy new year goes on

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Bradford Salem 9 Leodiensians 27

Bradford Salem’s poor start to 2014 continued as they lost to an inspired Leodiensians.

Salem conceded eight successive penalties in the opening ten minutes and, had Leos fly half Ed Farmer had his kicking boots on, the visitors would have raced into an early lead.

Referee Carl Walsh soon lost patience with Salem’s constant infringements at the breakdown and the home side were reduced to 13 men when second-rower Rhys Green and fly half Andy Robinson were sent to the sin-bin.

Leos got on the board when Jimmy Henry took over kicking duties put the visitors ahead 3-0. Soon after they scored from a catch-and-drive before Salem replied with a penalty from Danny Belcher.

The Leeds side continued to dominate and, after creating space on the blind side, swift handling enabled Henry to stroll over as the visitors went 15-3 ahead.

Winger Tim Sleight showed great pace and balance to score a brilliant individual try to put Leos 20-3 up at the break.

Salem lifted their game in the second half but had to be content with two Belcher penalties.

Their cause wasn’t helped by injuries to flanker Dave Hutton and wingman Connor Malarkey. The latter’s replacement, 17-year-old Alex Wood, showed great promise but, against the run of play, Sleight latched on to a loose pass and raced 60 metres to score his second try. It was improved by Henry to seal a 27-9 victory.

The defeat drops Salem into fifth place in the table and they need to get back on the winning trail soon if they are to keep pace with the league leaders.

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