BRADFORD Dudley Hill narrowly missed out in a battle of the roses, as automatic promotion hopes fade away.

They travelled across the Pennines for a crunch clash with Wigan St Judes in the race for a certain spot in next year's National Conference League Division One.

But it looks as if Dudley Hill will have to settle for the play-offs after succumbing to a 18-16 loss against the third-placed side.

St Judes exerted high-octane pressure early on and forced a penalty within the first two minutes.

The visitors scrambled from side-to-side in the resulting passage of play in an attempt to halt the pacy St Judes attack.

But the defence was eventually breached wide on the left.

A neat dummy then short pop from Barry Rothwell to Declan Parkinson gave the full-back just enough space to build up momentum and get past the defensive bodies for the game's first try.

St Judes continued with their rampant attack, but Dudley Hill battled back with some blows of their own.

That was until around 14 minutes in when Joseph Brady somehow managed to sneak through the smallest of gaps.

Daniel Fallon added the extras to make it 10-0, with his only successful conversion of the match.

A poor mistake at the back from the hosts though let Daniel Lee in for an opportunistic try.

Dudley needed to get going and they started to turn the screw from that point onwards, but couldn't make their chances tell.

Against the run of play, the visitors then conceded again taking the score to 14-4 heading into the break.

St Judes scored their final points of the game early on, as Lewis Melling sealed his brace.

But, Dudley Hill didn't give in and made a valiant effort at overturning the deficit.

First Adam Jefferson swivelled over the line, before Neil Wall's converted try set up a frantic final eight minutes.

St Judes were able to hold on though and Dudley Hill now sit seven points off an automatic spot.