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Bradford Salem win thriller in fitting tribute to former coach Craig Busby
Bradford Salem 24 West Park Leeds 17
On an emotional day for Bradford Salem following the recent death of Craig Busby, this enthralling match was a fitting tribute to the club’s former head coach and director of rugby.
Victory saw Salem end a nine-game winning run for West Park and extend their unbeaten run to six.
After an impeccably-observed minute’s silence, Tom Milner crossed for an excellent try to put the visitors ahead.
Salem full back Danny Belcher kicked a long-range penalty to reduce the arrears but Park hit back when some rare weak tackling allowed the visitors to cross for their second try.
With second rower Rhys Green and Kiwi No 8 Kris Falwasser putting in tremendous tackling, and with young scrum half Jack Mitchell being a constant nuisance at the base of the scrum, Salem grew in confidence.
Belcher showed great strength and acceleration to ghost through the Park back-line to score a fine try and the same player landed the touchline conversion to make it 10-10 at the break.
Belcher added two further penalties but a converted try from a well-executed catch and drive gave Park a slender 17-16 lead with ten minutes remaining.
After Salem skipper James Cunliffe had inexplicably decided not to go for three points from a penalty in a kickable position, he was given a reprieve when Belcher booted over another penalty from 40 metres to make it 19-17.
As Park chased the game, they knocked on metres from their own line. From the resultant scrum, swift handling in the Salem backs once again created sufficient space for Belcher to dive over for his second try.
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