Yorkshire Division One: Bradford Salem 10 Bridlington 18

BRADFORD Salem and Bridlington have history when it comes to Yorkshire Shield finals.

Salem lost 11-10 against the East Yorkshire club in 2006 at Pontefract, but got their revenge in the most dramatic of circumstances nine years later at Hull Ionians, winning 19-14 with a Sam Savage golden-point try in extra time after a Chris Clough try had forced the additional period.

Both clubs thought that they should have won the finals that they lost but there was no quibbling when the old foes met again with mere Yorkshire Division One points at stake at Shay Lane in a game where Storm Dennis was an increasing factor.

Bridlington were worthy 18-10 winners but it was hard on Salem that they didn't even collect a losing bonus point.

Referee Tony Smith (West Yorkshire Society) was full of praise for both teams after this latest clash, but particularly the front rows, one member of which was Salem's Jordan Ashworth.

At one point in the second half the perimeter flags were almost horizontal as rain swept down the ground towards Heaton Woods.

The 31-year-old Ashworth, who only found out that he was starting in place of Pete Tennet the night before, said: "We knew that the weather was going to play a big part in the game so the plan was to keep it tight.

"They have a good No 9 (Otis Floyd), who likes to jackal at the breakdown (stealing the ball at the tackle), and we did a good job of not letting him get anywhere near it by good numbers there.

"Our defence was really good in the first half, and that showed because they went for three points twice rather than going for touch and the line-out."

Ashworth, who made his first-team debut as a 19-year-old, added: "We started the second half really well and I thought that we were going to sneak it, but the conditions got worse and they played them a bit better than us.

"We thought that there was a knock-on when they scored their first try in the second half, but the referee didn't see it, and Matt Booth would have got those kicks at goal for us under normal circumstances because he has kick accuracy.

"We used the wind better than them in the second half and our driving maul was really good but it is just a shame that we lost, and we didn't get many opportunities within kicking range either in the second half.

"It was definitely the right decision to play and we now have a week off to let our bodies heal."

Bridlington had first use of the wind, but it soon became clear that short, hard passes, which were sometimes reversed, were not the answer.

The visitors won an eighth-minute penalty but kicked the ball dead as it curved dramatically, and so solid was the home defence that Bridlington full back Sam Wragg opted to kick penalties in the 19th and 28th minutes to give them their 6-0 interval advantage.

Man-of-the-match Glenn Morrison - the former Bradford Bulls star - was always trying to create something in midfield for Salem but their best attacking weapon into the wind was the combination of full back Matt Smith and winger Jake Green on the right.

Martins Bokiss was no slouch on the other wing either, making good ground in the 33rd minute only for the hosts to again be penalised.

Storm Dennis was picking up in intensity by now and most of the crowd were huddled in the stand to avoid the rain and wind, although the latter wasn't cold.

Booth's excellent penalty kick to touch put Salem on the front foot just before half-time but a great drive, which involved not only the pack but some of the backs, almost brought them a try in injury time.

Bridlington cleared to touch, however, but back came Salem and again went close.

Salem had a man advantage a minute into the second half when Bridlington lock Dewi Roberts was yellow-carded for a high tackle on Rhys Green, but then could not cash in on a five-metre line-out four minutes later.

But there was no escape for Bridlington, who conceded a try in the 48th minute, with Morrison getting the score, although Ashworth, who assisted, reckoned that he had an equal claim.

Booth's conversion attempt understandably held up in the wind, but Salem did not have long to enjoy their near parity at 6-5 down as Bridlington's man of the match, hooker Ryan Johnston, broke free in the 57th minute for Roberts to score.

Wragg's conversion attempt hit the far post near its base but Salem then had to replace Bokiss, who went off with a head injury.

The home side still believed, though, and flanker Tim Makaafi led a telling counter attack in the 62nd minute.

Seven minutes later, Booth kicked a penalty to Heaton Woods corner and, after a catch and drive from the line-out, Morrison was over again.

Again Salem were a point down, this time at 11-10, but for once their tackling let them down and Roberts made the line for his second try in the 73rd minute past some powder-puff defence.

Salem are now eighth with 45 points and Bridlington ninth on 42, 13 points and 10 points above the second relegation place with seven matches to go, and it is unthinkable that either will go down, especially when you hear Ashworth talk about Salem's togetherness.

He said: "The buzz around the club is fantastic - the best it has been for 10-12 years, since I have been here really.

"It is just people wanting to play for the club, such as the Kiwi boys and the colts, and that has rubbed off on us, and players stay behind for a few beers afterwards."