BULLS 6 HALIFAX 22

BETTER, but still not enough.

Bulls put in their best performance in weeks against Halifax at Headingley’s Summer Bash, but were still kept at arm’s length by their deadly rivals, who won 22-6 despite a second-half red card.

Bradford were 10-0 down after 20 minutes, without producing any threat in attack whatsoever.

They grew into the game before the break but, crucially, saw a Ryan Millar try controversially disallowed, and then endured Fax coming up with a converted score right on half-time.

Bulls had their chances after the interval, but kept coming up just short when it mattered, and despite Joe Martin’s questionable dismissal following a melee, it was 12-man Fax who got the next score.

Kieran Gill hit back immediately, but it was no more than a consolation, as Bulls slipped down to ninth place after a fifth defeat in a row.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Kieran Gill (left) scored Bulls' only try of the evening.Kieran Gill (left) scored Bulls' only try of the evening.

Fax opened the scoring when they had men over on the right on the last tackle, and despite Gill and Millar’s best efforts on the line, Ben Tibbs wrestled his way over.

Joe Keyes’ kick flashed across the face of the posts, so it remained 4-0 after that opening score.

Then, a spiralling kick from Louis Jouffret tested full-back Joe Burton, and the Bulls youngster dropped it under real pressure.

Fax worked the loose ball nicely, with Ben Kavanagh finding Keyes, who subsequently passed to Jacob Fairbank, the latter barging past Sam Hallas and Matty Dawson-Jones to score.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sam Hallas could not stop Jacob Fairbank from increasing Halifax's lead early on.Sam Hallas could not stop Jacob Fairbank from increasing Halifax's lead early on.

Keyes cracked over the kick from the left nicely to put Halifax’s lead into double figures.

Bulls had been struggling to gain attacking territory, but a decent five-minute spell ended when Dec Patton’s kick was almost reeled in by Gill.

Millar picked up the loose ball for an easy score, but Gill was controversially deemed to have knocked on when jumping for the initial kick, despite replays suggesting otherwise.

Right on half-time, Bulls suffered that hammer blow.

Fax broke down the left through Keyes, and he then kicked through on the run.

He was dragged down off the ball by Elliot Kear, but that mattered little, as Burton lost the ball on the slide on the line.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Elliot Kear was arguably spared punishment after Joe Burton's error on the line.Elliot Kear was arguably spared punishment after Joe Burton's error on the line.

Fax winger Zack McComb gleefully picked up the loose ball and strolled over, as Keyes converted with ease to ensure a 16-0 lead for his side at the interval.

Bulls started the second half brightly, and Patton thought he had had a huge stroke of fortune, as his blocked grubber came straight back to him.

He looked certain to get over the line as a result, but some superb defending saw him held up.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Dec Patton almost came up with a lucky score just after the break.Dec Patton almost came up with a lucky score just after the break.

The game threatened to turn in Bulls’ favour when Halifax interchange Martin was dismissed.

George Flanagan reacted angrily to a high tackle from Fairbank on Ant Walker, and in the ensuing melee, Martin was the only one punished, and the men in blue were down to 12.

Furious Fax head coach Simon Grix insisted afterwards that Martin had been punched by Bulls players and even had his eye gouged at one point in the incident, something the RFL Match Review Panel will certainly take a close look at.

A man up, Bulls were threatening, but then Flanagan was floored by a crunching tackle and the ball broke loose.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: George Flanagan endured a taxing evening.George Flanagan endured a taxing evening.

Fax shot up the pitch at lightning pace, and James Woodburn-Hall almost got to the line from 70 metres out.

He was just brought down in time by Bulls loanee Jacob Gannon, before Fax worked it wide, and Gill somehow recovered from being wrong-footed to hold James Saltonstall up over the line.

The 12 men soon scored a fourth try anyway. McComb kept the ball alive on the last, cut inside from the wing, kicked ahead, and beat Burton for pace to touch down.

Flanagan was yellow-carded for dissent in the aftermath, and that might have been because the grounding of the try was questionable, but either way, the score stood, and Keyes converted to make it 22-0.

Bulls hit straight back at least. Tom Doyle almost waltzed over, before clever hands from Gill saw him outfox the Fax defence and scramble in to score.

Patton’s conversion pulled the score back to 22-6, but there was no big comeback late on for Bulls, who will hope next weekend’s home game against rock-bottom Workington will finally see them snap their long losing streak.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: As Bulls' vice-captain, Rhys Evans will have a big role to play in helping pick his side back up for the clash against Workington.As Bulls' vice-captain, Rhys Evans will have a big role to play in helping pick his side back up for the clash against Workington.

BULLS: Burton, Dawson-Jones, R. Evans, Gill, Millar, Kear, Patton, B. Evans, Doyle, Crossley, Butler, England, Hallas.

Interchanges: Flanagan, Gannon, Murphy, Walker.

HALIFAX: Woodburn-Hall, McComb, Worthington, Tibbs, Saltonstall, Jouffret, Keyes, Calcott, Moore, Murray, Kavanagh, Garside, Fairbank.

Interchanges: Wood, Morris, Martin, Barber.

BULLS MAN OF THE MATCH: Tom Doyle.