Ladbrokes Challenge Cup fourth round: Hunslet 10 Bradford Bulls 34

SCRUM half Dane Chisholm gave a masterclass of kicking from hand and tee as Bradford Bulls booked a fifth-round tie at Warrington Wolves on Saturday, April 21.

Hunslet gave a much better display than in their capitulation at home to Keighley Cougars on Good Friday, and were in the contest at 14-10 down, but the visitors showed their prowess in finishing the game strongly.

Chisholm kicked six of his seven attempts at goal, which was remarkable considering that it took two pitch inspections before referee Nick Bennett passed the South Leeds Stadium venue fit for play.

Tries for the Bulls on a day when both sides handled better than the crowd had a right to expect came from Matty Garside, Ethan Ryan, Liam Johnson, Elliot Minchella and Josh Rickett.

Plucky Hunslet replied with a try by Daniel Halmshaw, with Joe Sanderson adding three goals.

Warrington-based Bennett passed the pitch fit in what must have been a marginal decision, but subsequent events proved that it was the right one.

He went off to seek advice after his first inspection, but came back minutes later to walk the pitch again and pass it fit with about 75 minutes to kick-off.

Waterlogging was the problem, with standing water to the left of the halfway line.

Full back Gregg McNally, winger Ryan, centre Ashley Gibson, Chisholm and second row Garside were the only starting survivors from Good Friday's hard-fought home victory over Oldham, although Ross Peltier, Mikey Wood and Johnson were promoted from the interchange bench.

Hunslet, meanwhile, brought in wingers Jordan Gill and Niall Walker, centres Joel Gibson and Will Cooke and second row Jack Walton into their starting line-up from their disappointing defeat against Cougars, while Halmshaw and Jack Coventry came on to the interchange bench.

The hosts named two No 38s (Halmshaw and Jack Coventry) and two No 39s (Josh Jordan Roberts and Jake Barnett), presumably in an attempt to confuse the opposition and the referee!

Chisholm's kick at end of the first set was accurate and testing.

It was well-taken by Jimmy Watson, but the Hunslet full back's momentum took him teetering into touch when it looked like he would just avoid the whitewash.

From the next attack, Chisholm's short pass put Garside over, with the second row showing good strength to make the line.

Chisholm confidently added the goal, but McNally's knock on gave Hunslet the platform to attack, only for Lewis Reed to be held up from a Jack Lee pass.

Joel Gibson was then penalised for a late tackle on Chisholm, and the stand-off made them pay with an angled penalty from just over 20 metres.

Hunslet conceded a third penalty and then had to drop out from under their posts. Not long after, Chisholm's pass picked out Ryan on the left wing and he had the presence of mind to dive into the base of the corner flag for the second try.

Chisholm – an early contender for man of the match – stroked the ball over to make it 14-0 in the 14th minute.

In the 19th minute, Pickersgill was caught high, but Chisholm showed that he was human by calling for the kicking tee but missing from the right-hand side of the posts.

The Bulls were belying the conditions with some deft handling on the left to force a third goal-line drop-out.

The influential Chisholm then put a kick up towards the left wing. Ryan palmed it inside to Ross Oakes and Garside passed it forwards, but the latter’s infringement wasn't seen by referee Bennett, and thus Hunslet had to drop-out again.

The home side had their second pocket of pressure after 28 minutes but the Bulls survived that before bringing on Jordan Andrade and Steve Crossley for Peltier and Liam Kirk in what were their first changes.

Hunslet thought that they had their first try after 31 minutes after an incredible four ricochets following a left-footed kick through from former Bull Cain Southerwood but it was eventually ruled out for offside after referee Bennett had consulted with a touch judge.

However, Hunslet did not have to wait that long for that first try, with Halmshaw scoring from a neat offload in the 36th minute, with Sanderson adding the goal to put the Parksiders back in it.

Then Pickersgill intercepted to snuff out a dangerous attack as the hosts were scenting a second try just before the half-time hooter. Hunslet had centre Cooke sin-binned for delaying a 20-metre restart before the half was out.

Steady rain was reduced to the odd spot as the second period started.

Chisholm put in a 40-20 to put the Bulls in pole position two minutes in, but they couldn't profit, and Hunslet went up the other end and reduced the deficit with a Sanderson penalty, given for a high tackle by George Flanagan.

Chisholm's bomb then hit the crossbar in the 49th minute and went dead in a piece of skill that could have won him some cash in other circumstances.

Hunslet survived the sin-binning without penalty, and Sanderson nibbled away at the lead with a 50th-minute penalty for ball-stealing, with the kick going over, despite him slipping just before the point of impact.

However, soon after receiving treatment for injury, Johnson went over for the Bulls from Elliot Minchella's pass after Hunslet knocked on from the kick-off. McNally's goal made it 20-10.

A high tackle just out from the 20-metre line gave Chisholm the chance to extend the advantage to 12 points, which he duly took.

The Bulls went further in front after 57 minutes when Garside broke to put Minchella over, leaving Chisholm with the easiest of conversions as a slight mist descended.

The Bulls were pulling away now, and winger Rickett was the next to profit after 64 minutes, pouncing on a Chisholm kick to the right corner. Chisholm nailed another superb kick to make it 34-10.

Both teams handled well given the awful conditions, with relatively few knock-ons.

Hunslet were then held up almost on the dead-ball line before Ryan could not quite catch up with his kick ahead, leaving Bulls comfortable winners to set up a mouth-watering tie at Super League Warrington.

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