Bradford Salem beat Wensleydale 33-3 in the semi-final of the Yorkshire Shield on Saturday and will now play local rivals Keighley in a mouth-watering final at Castle Park, Doncaster on Saturday, May 18.  

Salem had met Wensleydale a few weeks earlier in a Counties One Yorkshire  league game and had to dig deep to tough out a narrow 13-7 win in horrendous playing conditions at Cawkhill Park.

However, on this occasion, the weather in Leyburn was much kinder, allowing Salem to play a more expansive game, scoring five unanswered tries on their way to an impressive victory.

In fact, the visitors put a marker down straight from the off as they put multiple phases together in the opening minutes to get themselves deep into opposition territory.

Then, despite the fact that Wensleydale were awarded a scrum on their own five-metre line, Salem took the ball against the head and Andy Robinson's clever cross-kick found Adrea Vasuitoga in space on the left.

After a slight juggle, the Fijian winger, who was making his first team debut, managed to regather the ball to score a fine try, Jake Green landing the difficult conversion to give the visitors a 7-0 lead.  

The Bradford side suffered a setback when referee Steve Penfold sent skipper Christian Baines to the sin-bin for a high-shot but, despite being a man down, an excellent kick by Callum Smith and a turnover from Morgan Mirzaali lead to a try for prop and man of the match Conor Wood.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Conor Wood (on his knees) and Andy Robinson (left) both made an impact in attack early on against Wensleydale.Conor Wood (on his knees) and Andy Robinson (left) both made an impact in attack early on against Wensleydale. (Image: LDR Photography.)

Centre Pauli Pauli then replaced Baines in the sin bin for an alleged no arms tackle and Wensleydale fly half Jack Reynard kicked the resulting penalty to reduce the deficit to 14-3.

However, once back to a full complement, Salem soon regained control of the game, and Baines forced his way over for a try from a catch and drive.

Green added the extras to give the visitors a 21-3 advantage at the break.

A superb mazy run from Vasuitoga got Salem back on the attack early in the second half, and, although they squandered a couple of clear-cut chances, the pressure eventually told, as Baines charged over for his second try after good work from Fin Southcott to take the score to 26-3.  

With the game virtually in the bag, Salem head coach Bob Hood had the luxury of taking off both Baines and his vice-captain James Brown, to be replaced by Jason Rolls and a second debutant in Waisale Lasekula.

In spite of having to reorganise the pack due to these changes, Salem still managed to finish on a high.

A Robinson chip once again found Vasuitoga, who went over for his second try, which Green improved to give Salem that 33-3 victory.

Keighley won their semi-final 34-10 against West Leeds on Saturday to set up that mouthwatering Bradford District final.

Neither Bradford & Bingley nor Baildon were in action at the weekend, but Cleckheaton did play in Regional One North East.

They have been in great form after the Christmas break, with Saturday seeing them pull off a fine 29-23 home win over Ilkley.

That moved them up to eighth in the 12-team table, and they can now realistically target a sixth-placed finish, at just two points behind Ilkley and three off Blaydon.

That would be an extraordinary achievement given they looked to be staring relegation in the face at the turn of the year.