BRADFORD Bulls recovered from an underwhelming start to sweep North Wales Crusaders aside 48-2 at Odsal in the Challenge Cup third round this afternoon.

They will host Widnes in round four, after the Vikings cruised to a 50-16 win at home to Doncaster.

But for the first quarter of this game, it looked as if the Crusaders would be entertaining the Championship side in a fortnight instead.

The shock of the round looked to be on the cards a few hours ago, as a turgid Bulls were outplayed by a vibrant North Wales side early on.

Prop Chris Barratt broke the line but panicked when a simple pass to Toby Hughes on his left, who would have been in to score, went to ground.

Second-row Ryan Ellis was then held up over the line by some desperate Bulls defending.

Despite their poor start, Bulls looked to be in for the opening score, but Eribe Doro lost control of the ball as he flew over the line from Jordan Lilley's short pass.

Crusaders came straight back again and after their opponents conceded a penalty in front of the posts, the visitors took the lead through Owain Abel’s successful kick.

Bradford were behind for around six minutes, but when Keven Appo was floored centimetres short, Mitch Souter flicked a pass to Doro, who barged over from close in, leaving easy extras for Lilley to make it 6-2.

Soon after, another deft pass from Souter from close range to Joe Arundel allowed the centre to flop over the line and score a converted try.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Joe Arundel is congratulated by his Bulls team-mates after his second try in two games.Joe Arundel is congratulated by his Bulls team-mates after his second try in two games. (Image: Tom Pearson.)

Aidan McGowan then provided the highlight of the first half for Bulls, when he received the ball to the right of centre 10 metres out.

The hosts had numbers out wide, but the full-back did not need them, dancing through the line and a couple of missed tackles to get over the whitewash.

Lilley added the extras from the right to ensure Bulls led 18-2 at the break.

North Wales started the second half solidly enough, but interchange Joe Baldwin put them in trouble, with a tip tackle on Dan Smith ensuring he spent 10 minutes in the sin bin.

Bulls soon added their fourth try when Souter flung the ball out from the base of the ruck to Appo, who bulleted his way over the line to score, with Lilley converting.

A fifth try came after good work from Lee Gaskell saw the ball fed to the powerful Chester Butler five metres out, who bludgeoned his way over the man on the line for a converted score.

Try number six was Bulls' best of the match and it came via a fine break down the right from McGowan.

The youngster drew the overwhelmed Abel before flicking the ball to Gaskell, who found George Flanagan on his inside.

The veteran hooker crashed over under the posts, with Lilley adding the easy extras.

Lilley had a big hand in Bulls’ penultimate score, with his grubber caught by the diving Kieran Gill, with that try converted by the aid of the post.

Flanagan scored the final try with a classic show and go next to the posts, enabling Lilley to end the afternoon with a perfect record from the kicking tee, as Bulls eventually warmed up nicely for next weekend’s 1895 Cup group decider at neighbours Keighley Cougars.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: There was something rather familiar about the George Flanagan try that rounded off the scoring.There was something rather familiar about the George Flanagan try that rounded off the scoring. (Image: Tom Pearson.)

Bulls head coach Eamon O’Carroll expects Michael Lawrence and Billy Jowitt (both back) to be in contention for that game after their back injuries and is hopeful of having Ebon Scurr (knee) in his squad too, after the prop was forced off at Dewsbury in the 1895 Cup.

But Ben Blackmore’s ankle problem, suffered after a poor tackle on him by Rams man Ronan Dixon, could keep him out for a while, with O’Carroll expecting to have a definitive answer on the length of that lay-off for the winger in the next few days.

Fortunately, there were no real injury scares for Bulls against North Wales, with Dan Okoro and Chester Butler both passing their HIAs with flying colours.

BULLS: McGowan, Myers, Arundel, Gill, Taufua, Gaskell, Lilley, Doro, Souter, Smith, Butler, Davies, Hallas. Interchanges: Flanagan, Appo, Okoro, Peposhi. 18th man: Oakes.

NORTH WALES: Abel, Holmes, Taylor, Reid, Ah Van, Hughes, Bushell, Evans, Rainford, Barratt, Ellis, Unsworth, Costello. Interchanges: Baldwin, Cameron, Nzoungou, Carr. 18th man: Deery.