London Skolars 12 Bradford Bulls 58

THERE will be harder obstacles to overcome as Bulls look to win every remaining match in their bid to clinch the League One title.

But this was the ideal start to their eight-game challenge.

If John Kear's men are to remain ahead of rivals York in the race to be champions, they have to kick their habit of tending to start too slow.

And, with the title potentially going down to points difference, they have to be as ruthless as possible.

This win over Skolars, while not being perfect, saw them do both.

Despite being third from bottom, London have showed they can be dangerous opponents, having only lost 22-20 to York a fortnight earlier and then pushing play-off contenders Whitehaven hard a week later.

But right from the Bulls' opening try in the tenth minute from James Green, there was never any real danger of Skolars claiming a scalp.

The on-loan Castleford prop, making his first start, had already shown a glimpse of his talent with a lung-busting run from his own half before touching down to put the visitors ahead.

Dane Chisholm converted and was next to cross following a break down the left but his second kick was skewed horribly wide to the right.

The Australian was to have a mixed day with the boot but, to be fair to him, the strong wind made things far from easy.

In open play he was a huge influence and it took just another two minutes before his break and pass to Ethan Ryan down the same left flank saw Bulls over for their third try.

Chisholm missed to the other side of the posts but Bradford were 14-0 up inside the first quarter and cruising.

Billy Driver was thwarted by good defence at the other end as Skolars showed fast hands to put the right winger in, who touched down but was ruled to have gone into touch.

Bulls almost replied with what would have been a try to remember.

Loanee Tuoyo Egodo's pace had caught coach Kear's eye playing against his side for Newcastle and he made an electrifying burst from deep inside his own half.

Having passed several Skolars, it looked a like a fantastic debut score was on. Instead, he unselfishly tried to pass inside to Brandon Pickersgill - a late replacement for Gregg McNally following an injury in the warm-up - but the ball went loose.

Instead, London began to claw their way back into it and Lameck Juma's try on the left following back to back sets was just reward for their period of pressure, Neil Thorman tagging on the extras.

Pleasingly for Kear, the Bulls dug in to ensure this was the only time the defence was breached in the first half.

And some typically powerful play by Ross Peltier, who barged his way through the Skolars rearguard by sheer brute force, saw Bulls go into the interval 20-6 in front.

It was not a huge lead but was probably worth more due to the fact the visitors had played into the wind.

And so it proved as Bulls turned the screw in the second half with the elements now in their favour.

Just over two minutes in, the League One leaders produced the try of the match.

And it was that man Egodo who laid the foundations with an audacious cross-field chip from right to left, which went straight into the hands of Ross Oakes.

He dinked a chip forward for Ryan to run on to and finish with his usual clinical aplomb.

Chisholm was off target with the conversion attempt but it was not long before Vila Halafihi - back in the side after being rested - burrowed over from short range after a dummy.

There was no letting up as Chisholm's skilful chip was pounced on by Ryan, who clinched his hat-trick and his 25th try of the season in all competitions.

There was no conversion from the Australian but the half-back was hungry for more points and he cut through the Skolars defence with a fine solo try, easing to the line under the sticks after dummying the last man.

Then it was time for his partner in the halves, Jordan Lilley, to get in on the act.

George Milton - who was making his return from injury - put him in to dive over from close range.

The on-loan youngster has had a stop-start career at Leeds Rhinos but is hoping for some stability now he is back at Bulls for a second spell until the end of next year.

And his try capped a steady performance from a player who has plenty more to give.

Still the Bulls weren't done as Pickersgill took the ball from the base of the scrum, fought off two tacklers and touched down for try number ten.

It was a great way to cap off another great day at the office for the full back, who didn't even expect to be needed at the office.

His display after stepping in at the last minute for McNally, who injured an ankle in the warm-up, earned plaudits from Kear in what continues to be a fine season for the youngster.

London were a spent force but they earned small consolation when Juma gained possession after a fumbled interception and breezed in for his second try before Thorman converted.

It provided a rare moment of cheer for the home support in what was their largest crowd of the season.

The 1,178 attendance - swelled as usual by a healthy and vocal Bulls following - was not quite a record-breaker for the Skolars though, whose highest ever gate of 1,542 came last season for the visit of Toronto Wolfpack.

The icing was put on the Bulls' cake by Elliot Minchella, who crossed for his 26th try of the season after latching on to a delayed pass, Chisholm adding the extras to improve his kicking ratio to seven out of 11.

One down, seven to go in the race for the crown as Bulls prepare for a tougher challenge at home to Whitehaven next week.

Bulls: Pickersgill 8, Grant 7, Egodo 8, Oakes 7, Ryan 8, Lilley 7, Chisholm 8, Green 8, Flanagan 7, Crossley 7, Minchella 7, Garside 7, Wood 7. Interchanges: Peltier 7, Halafihi 7, Kirk 7, Milton 7.

London Skolars: Bishay 6, Driver 6, Fleming 6, Juma 7, Brown 6, Coleman 6, Lawrence 6, Martin 6, Thorman 7, Pelo 7, Bryan 7, Williams 6, Chester 6. Interchanges: Davies 6, Ross 6, Mbaraga 6, Sykes 6.