Bradford Salem had to withstand a late onslaught from Wensleydale before toughing out a 13-7 win to earn four valuable league points and move up to second in Counties One Yorkshire.

On a windswept Cawkill Park pitch which was barely playable following the recent freeze, credit must go to both sets of players and also to referee Jess Miller for managing to provide a spectacle in spite of the atrocious conditions.

With several penalties going in their favour, Wensleydale had the better of the opening exchanges but missed an opportunity to take an early lead when fly-half Jack Reynard's kick was blown wide of the uprights.

With 10 minutes gone, Salem launched their first meaningful attack following a Morgan Mirzaali turnover in midfield.

After a strong burst by hooker James Brown, slick handling from Andy Robinson and Danny Belcher created sufficient space for winger Jake Green to squeeze over in the corner to put the visitors 5-0 in front.

Neither side really came close to scoring for the remainder of the half as, not surprisingly given the conditions, an increasing number of handling errors began to stifle any attacking opportunities.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: It was a hard slog of a game between Wensleydale and Salem, which was played in atrocious weather conditions.It was a hard slog of a game between Wensleydale and Salem, which was played in atrocious weather conditions. (Image: LDR Photography.)

Despite being helped by a strengthening wind in the second half, Wensleydale found themselves defending their own line after the restart, and, when they conceded a penalty for a high shot, Green slotted over the resulting penalty to take Salem into a 8-0 lead.

Wensleydale were reduced to 14 men when referee Miller sin-binned a player for a deliberate trip on Ben Whitaker, who had just the full back to beat after breaking clear.

Salem were then awarded a series of penalties, and, although back rowers Christian Baines and Tom Cummins were both held up short following quick taps, the pressure eventually told.

The ball was moved out to Green, who took his personal tally to 13 points as he crossed for a try in the right corner.

Despite being down to 13 men following a second yellow card, Wensleydale refused to throw in the towel.

A brilliant 50/22 from Reynard earned them a line-out five metres from the Salem line but the visitors somehow managed to turn over possession to relieve the pressure.

With the wind continuing to whip up at their backs, Wensleydale decided that their best plan of action was to play a kick and chase game.

This change of tactic soon paid off as they scored a try near the posts courtesy of , Reynard adding the extras to put his side back in it at 13-7.

With Salem having to play the final few minutes of the game with either 13 or 14 men after Sui Matagi, Robinson and Whitaker were all sent to the sin-bin, it looked like Wensleydale might stage a remarkable comeback win.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Salem held firm despite being without star half-back Andy Robinson (second left) late on. Salem held firm despite being without star half-back Andy Robinson (second left) late on. (Image: LDR Photograpghy.)

However, on the very last play with a second try looking certain, they were penalised on their own feed at a five-metre scrum.

That allowed a relieved Salem to clear the ball and seal a hard-earned victory, which takes them just three points off the summit, where leaders and neighbours Keighley currently reside.

Unlike Salem, Keighley and Bradford & Bingley had a week off from Counties One Yorkshire action, but Baildon were playing.

They visited mid-table Ossett, suffering a disappointing 17-13 away defeat to slip to fifth and further damage their promotion hopes.

Finally, Cleckheaton were on the road too, as they took on fellow strugglers Sandal in Regional One North East.

A brilliant game ended 32-27 in favour of the hosts, and means those two sides are now part of a bottom five separated by only two points.