BRADFORD Salem moved up into sixth place in Counties One Yorkshire with a fine bonus point win over old rivals Leodiensian.

However, Leodiensian came close to staging a remarkable comeback as Salem, who lead 21-5 at half-time, squandered several opportunities to kill off the game, before eventually winning it 36-26.

Salem were soon on the front foot after kick-off, and though the hosts relieved an initial spell of pressure, a sustained wave of attacks eventually paid off for the visitors.

A clever inside pass sent Kiwi prop Murphy Kupe crashing over the whitewash, Salem full-back Jake Green adding the conversion to give the visitors a 7-0 lead after 20 minutes.

Salem continued to press and they soon went further ahead when centre Toni Fa scored after good work from winger Josh Charnock, Green adding the extras for a 14-0 lead.

It was then Leos' turn to apply some pressure and it needed a last-ditch tackle by Charnock to prevent a score.

Moments later, the same player was fortunate not to be punished for deliberately patting the ball over the dead ball line.

Nevertheless, in the next play, swift handling by Leos created a try in the left corner to reduce the deficit to 14-5.

Salem hit back before being held up over the line but when the goal line drop out failed to go the required distance, Salem skipper Christian Baines picked up from the base of the resulting five-metre scrum.

After quick recycled ball, replacement prop Xander McConville broke through to score, Green tagging on the conversion to give the Bradford side a 21-5 advantage at the break.

When Green added a penalty three minutes into the second half to take the score to 24-5, Salem looked like they were heading for a comfortable victory.

However, Leos had other ideas, and, when a period of relentless pressure earned them a converted try, with the deficit reduced to 24-12, the hosts were back in it.

Leos were looking increasingly dangerous and it seemed like more swift handling had created a score in the right corner.

However, fly-half Ted Farmer's potential try-assisting pass was intercepted by Charnock, who raced 65 metres for a superb solo effort.

That gave Salem a healthy 29-12 advantage with 20 minutes left on the clock.

However, Salem once again showed their inability to turn the screw and fast hands from Leos put winger Callum Bolton into space down the right.

He won the chase to his own kick ahead to score in the corner, with Farmer's magnificent touchline conversion again giving the hosts renewed hope at only 29-19 down.

Salem nerves were definitely sent jangling when Leos' lively backs produced another converted try, and, with the hosts now just 29-26 behind, they were arguably favourites to go on and secure the unlikeliest of victories.

From the restart, an excellent break by Nick Fontaine sent Fa galloping clear down the left.

However, despite having Charnock outside him with a clear run to the line, the Tongan's pass went forward and a huge opportunity to close out the game went begging.

With time ticking away, Salem committed another cardinal sin when fly-half Callum Smith failed to find touch from a penalty, giving Leos one last chance to try and steal a win.

However, they spilled the ball in midfield and, after strong carries by Ed Cook and Muli Taufa got Ben Whitaker to within inches of the line, Fa forced his way over for his second try.

Green improved that to give Salem a 36-26 victory, which they will hope to add to this coming Saturday, as they host the team immediately above them in the table, Old Rishworthian.

Keighley stay second in the same division after crushing understrength Dinnington 71-12, with their game at leaders Goole on Saturday a must-win if they are to have any chance of taking the title.

In Counties Two Yorkshire, third-placed Baildon’s title hopes look to be over after a gutting 21-20 defeat at Wath Upon Dearne, the team immediately below them in the table.

Promotion is still on the cards, but it will be a tough ask for the Bradford side to win at home against leaders Wensleydale this weekend, the visitors having lost only one league game all season.

Up in Regional One North East, Cleckheaton look set to finish in mid-table after yet another setback, losing 36-5 at Ilkley last weekend.

They will expect to win at home to Paviors, who are down in 10th, on Saturday.

Finally, in Regional Two North East, rock-bottom Bradford & Bingley were thumped 39-3 at high-flying Pocklington, and they seem unlikely to get anything from their home game with fifth-placed Scarborough this weekend.