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Bradford Salem seal hat-trick of away wins
Doncaster Phoenix 16, Bradford Salem 19
Bradford Salem secured a third successive win on the road after overcoming Doncaster Phoenix at Castle Park in SSE Yorkshire Division Two yesterday.
The game took place on the impressive Doncaster Knights' ground and, in near-perfect conditions, Salem had the better of the opening exchanges.
However, despite excellent early breaks from winger Carl Walker and centre Sam Gardner, they were unable to turn the pressure into points.
In fact, after fly half Andy Robinson missed a relatively simple penalty attempt, Salem would have considered themselves a little unlucky to go 6-0 behind against the run of play after the home side kicked two successful penalties.
Robinson pulled back three points for the visitors, and then, on the stroke of half-time, the Bradford side scored the try of the game.
A miss pass from Robinson found the ever dangerous full back Danny Belcher in space and his incisive run created an overlap on the right, Walker finishing off well in the corner for his first try for the club.
Robinson landing the touchline conversion to give Salem a 10-6 advantage at the break and two Robinson penalties early in the second half gave the visitors a useful ten-point cushion at 16-6.
But, as Salem were trying to reorganise following an injury to flanker Dave Hutton, Phoenix took full advantage to get themselves within metres of their opponent's line.
Then, from a well-rehearsed catch and drive from a line-out, they scored a try to bring the scoreline to 16-11.
The Doncaster side was now in the ascendancy and soon got another opportunity to perform their trademark catch and drive.
This time Salem decided to stand off the drive, and the tactic seemed to work when the home side knocked on.
Unfortunately, referee Liam Taylor failed to spot this and, to make matters worse, he awarded a try despite the fact that the Phoenix player appeared to have been held up short of the line.
With the scores level at 16-16, a tense finish was in prospect but Robinson settled Salem nerves with a well-struck penalty to put his side ahead.
However, with the seconds ticking away, Phoenix got a final chance to steal the game from a five-metre line-out.
But, to the relief of the Salem support, the ball went loose and the visitors ran out 19-16 winners.