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Six and out for Bradford Salem
Yarnbury 26 Bradford Salem 24
Bradford Salem's six match unbeaten run in SSE Yorkshire Division 2 ended in cruel fashion as a last minute try gave promotion-chasing Yarnbury the spoils at Brownberrie Lane.
Salem made an encouraging start with some telling runs from centre Connor Malarkey and they took an early 3-0 lead through the boot of full-back Danny Belcher.
Yarnbury soon levelled matters with a penalty of their own and then, against the run of play, they created a huge over-lap out wide after sucking in the Salem defence to score in the left corner, full-back Jarrod Huss drop-kicking the conversion to give the home side a 10-3 advantage.
Salem continued to ask questions of the Yarnbury defence and Malarkey, who had an outstanding game, beat several would-be defenders to score a brilliant individual try which Belcher improved to bring the scores level at 10-10.
The visitors should have extended their lead when Malarkey made another superb break only for supporting winger Adam Sutcliffe to drop the try-scoring pass with the line at his mercy.
Salem did briefly regain the lead courtesy of another Belcher penalty but Huss replied to even matters at 13-13 at the break.
Salem continued to press in the second half but despite being camped on their opponent's line, they had to be content with a further Belcher penalty to put them 16-13 ahead. However, not for the first time, Salem messed up the kick-off reception and a Huss penalty once again brought the scores back to parity at 16-16.
Salem then took a 21-16 lead when an improvised pass from scrum half Jack Mitchell created an overlap for Sutcliffe who made amends for his earlier error by standing up Huss on his way to the try-line.
With only minutes remaining it looked like Salem had got the game in the bag when Belcher's fourth successful penalty gave the visitors a 24-16 advantage.
Unfortunately, Salem's achilles heel of failing to close out games once again came to haunt them as a series of unforced errors gifted their opponents territory.
Huss kicked his fourth penalty to reduce the arrears to 24-19 and then, with the the clock running down, Yarnbury managed to force their way over the line although Salem felt the referee had failed to spot that the ball had been dropped in the act of scoring.
To rub salt in the wound, Huss then landed the touchline conversion in off the post to give the home-side an unlikely 26-24 victory.
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