BRADFORD Salem were made to pay for defensive lapses in the opening 10 minutes as they went down 21-0 at West Leeds in a dour encounter.

On a wet pitch in gloomy conditions, Salem made good ground in the first two minutes, but a knock on gave West Leeds the opportunity to launch a counter-attack.

Their livewire full-back burst through some weak tackling to get his side within striking distance and further pressure resulted in a converted try to give the hosts a 7-0 lead.

After another Salem handling error, West Leeds were back on the attack and although they squandered a clear overlap on the right, their centre scored in the next passage of play. That try was converted to make it 14-0 with little over 10 minutes gone.

Although West Leeds continued to create chances, Salem managed to stem the tide with some determined last ditch tackling as, in deteriorating light, the contest became increasingly attritional.

Despite coming close on several occasions, West Leeds had to be content with a 14-0 half-time lead.

However, they could perhaps consider themselves unlucky not to have been awarded a penalty try when former England rugby league star Mark Calderwood looked to have been held back when chasing a kick.

The game continued to be an arm wrestle in the second half, although the introduction of Nick Fontaine in the back row gave Salem some much-needed impetus.

Unfortunately, the visitors too often had to rely on individual breaks and they never really looked like breaching West Leeds’ solid defence.

The hosts had the final say when, in the dying minutes, a period of sustained pressure in Salem’s 22 resulted in a try, which the kicker improved to give his side a well-deserved 21-0 victory.