West Park Leeds 16 Bradford Salem 6
Bradford Salem’s miserable run continued in heavy conditions at The Sycamores.
For once, the penalty count went in Salem’s favour in the opening stages and they took an early 3-0 lead courtesy of a penalty from fly half Danny Belcher.
However, the visitors’ luck changed when referee Phil Gordge missed a knock-on by West Park winger Ryan Fraser-Roe and, while Salem were waiting for the whistle, good off-loading and support play enabled the hosts to cross.
The turning point came when, after Park were reduced to 14 men following the sin-binning of hooker Tom Howard, Salem conceded a try when a speculative pass from Kiwi No 8 Kris Falwasser was intercepted by Tom Milner and, in a 60-metre foot-race, he evaded a late challenge from Belcher to give his side a 13-3 lead.
The visitors pressed but their only reward was a second successful Belcher penalty on the stroke of half-time.
In tricky conditions, the second half developed into a bit of an arm-wrestle with the defences of both sides proving difficult to break down.
Although Salem had their moments, they spilled far too much ball in the tackle area and never really threatened their opponent’s line.
Then with ten minutes remaining, West Park virtually made the game safe when Salem flanker Rhys Green was caught off-side and full-back Simon Towler was finally on target to give his side a ten point advantage.
To their credit, Salem did not give up but unforced errors continued to hamper them and West Park ran out worthy 16-6 winners.