JOHN Kear saluted the “smart and clinical” Bulls for weathering the Whitehaven storm to earn their third straight Championship win.

His improving side battled to a 30-22 victory in Cumbria that was more convincing than it sounds after the hosts grabbed a brace of late consolation tries.

Kear was impressed with how the Bulls had coped after Haven’s fast start to wrestle control with a five-try performance, including two for skipper Steve Crossley.

Kear said: “It’s difficult to come up here but I thought the players were really good.

“The two tries at the end do put a lop-sided scoreline which I feel we didn’t deserve.

“I’m really pleased with what we came up with. That’s another two points so it’s three out of four – we’re making a decent start now.

“They came out the first 15 minutes at 1,000 miles an hour. If you’ve not quite got your land legs, they can be two scores up before you know it.

We had to weather that storm and we did do and came through the other side.

“We were smart and clinical and highly committed. Apart from the last five minutes when they notched 12 points, I was very happy indeed.”

Ebon Scurr notched one of the tries and Kear singled out the youngster’s impact from the bench.

“They’ve all contributed but Ebon was really good. I sensed when we put him on it was the right time because a bit of petrol had gone out of their tank and he just ripped in.

“He immediately made a bust and was really good.”

But the victory came at a cost with the Bulls finishing with four casualties – the hobbling Scurr among them.

Forward Levi N’zoungou looks the most serious and needed to be helped from the field with a knee injury.

Kear admitted: “We’ll assess it when the swelling goes down and see what action is needed.

“We had four players on the sideline at the end who couldn’t go back on. In all honesty, Brad England shouldn’t have because his groin was playing up but he volunteered to do that simply because we were down on troops.

“When you put all those circumstances into the hat, I can feel very happy.”

But Kear was unimpressed with the performance of referee James Vella and chose his words carefully.

“There were aspects of the game that I wasn’t so happy about but not so much my players and the performance.

“The big thing was the 13-6 penalty count against us and six set re-starts.

“We’re either doing something drastically wrong, which I don’t feel we are, or I’ll let you draw your own conclusions. I’m not going to get fined.”