Bradford Salem are through to the final of the Papa John’s Community Cup Counties One North Plate after wearing down a plucky Pocklington side before running out convincing 43-12 victors on Saturday.

Playing on a welcome firm pitch at Shay Lane, Pocklington gave an indication of their intent in the opening minute as a crunching tackle on Salem full-back Josh Charnock gave them an early attacking opportunity.

However, Salem soon returned the compliments when a double hit from Conor Wood and Christian Baines halted the visitors in their tracks.

With a good contingent of vociferous supporters behind them, Pocklington continue to press, and, with 10 minutes gone, they took a 3-0 lead courtesy of a penalty from full back Christian Pollock.

Two further Pollock penalties in the next 10 minutes extended the visitors’ lead to nine points and when Salem's eventual man of the match Morgan Mirzaali received a yellow card for a no arms tackle, the home side were under real pressure.

However, despite being a man down, strong carries from Fin Southcott and Wood got Salem into the opposing 22.

And when the ball was moved wide, Fijian winger Adrea Vasuitoga showed great pace and footwork as he danced around his opposite number to score a fine try to reduce the deficit to 9-5.

Pocklington hit back almost immediately, as Pollock's fourth successful penalty of the afternoon gave them a 12-5 advantage.

But there was an early sign that cracks were starting to form in the away side’s defensive line as punishing runs from the freshly-returned Mirzaali, Tom Cummins and Pauli Pauli created a try for Sui Matagi, which Andy Robinson improved to bring the scores level at 12-12.

With five minutes of the first half remaining, Salem went ahead as a superb run from Wood, followed by a deft inside pass, set up a try for Aaron Magee.

Robinson added the extras to take the score to 19-12, before knocking over a penalty on the stroke of half-time to give his side a 10-point advantage at the break.

Although Salem were very much on top in the second half, it took them 20 minutes to add to their tally.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Bradford Salem were not playing in a mudbath for once this season, but they still had to really grind out their victory against Pocklington, with the game far more competitive than the final scoreline suggests.Bradford Salem were not playing in a mudbath for once this season, but they still had to really grind out their victory against Pocklington, with the game far more competitive than the final scoreline suggests. (Image: LDR Photography.)

That came about when Mirzaali took a lovely off-load from Pauli before showing extraordinary strength and determination as he managed to hold off four would-be tacklers on his way to the line.

Although Robinson missed the initial conversion attempt, referee Steve Penfold allowed him to retake the kick following an early Pocklington charge, and, this time, he was on target to give his side a 29-12 lead.

The Bradford side then hit a purple patch and a combination of power and speed made them virtually unstoppable.

With just over 10 minutes to go, Mirzaali went over for his second converted try after good work from Pauli, and immediately from the restart, they went further ahead.

After replacement second rower Ian Maycock went close, the ball was moved wide to Vasuitoga, who also crossed for his second try.

Robinson tagged on the conversion to round off the scoring, but it was probably only a yellow card for influential hooker James Brown in the closing stages that denied Salem reaching a half-century of points.

However, having endured a very testing opening 20 minutes, Salem were more than happy to have booked their place in the showpiece with that 43-12 victory.

Salem face Counties One Lancashire and Cheshire side Aldwinians in the final at Darlington’s Mowden Park Arena this Saturday (May 11), with kick off at 3pm.