Previewing the game, you wouldn't have thought that the two sides sat ten places apart as both Bulls and Tigers players gave their all from the get go, with hooker Reiss Butterworth especially bringing a leadership that he'd learn from playing with the first team in their last game.
His experience from the first team shone as he bulldozed through the middle of the Castleford team. Despite desperately trying to drag him down, Butterowrth used veteran-like vision to offload to winger Ryan Leadbeater, calmly convert in the corner.
Fullback Alix Stephenson scored the following kick to make it 6-4 to Bulls.
Regardless of the Tigers best efforts Bradford kept charging forward with Reiss Butterworth showing his team-mates how to cause their rivals problems in the middle of the park, resulting in half a dozen Bulls scrums.
Second row Matthew Storton then turned his excellent defensive capabilities into offence. Storton remained on the shoulder of loose forward Wilf Moxon to receive the offload in a four-man tackle and touch down near the sticks. Stephenson converted the kick to make it 12-4 to Bulls after 40 minutes.
Bradford's first two tries mirrored each other in the form of support and demonstrated Leigh Beattie's tweaks in training to the Bulls' attack.
Stemming from the half time break, Castleford’s offense found their feet as the Tigers bit back at the Bulls. Tries coming from former Bull Jake Trueman and substitute Jaques O’Neill gave the visitors the edge.
With his side eight points down, standoff Rowan Milnes mirrored Butterworth’s earlier efforts, brushing aside three Castleford players to wonderfully cut through the defence and get his side back in the game.
At this point the game opened up and the two sides traded the ball, never able to truly gain a grip of the game in its closing stages. The Tigers scored after a string of crisp passes but Elliott Culling, popped up and was in the right place at the right time to ground the ball to put the Bulls within two points of the Tigers.
Unfortunately, Alix Stephenson couldn't successfully convert his kick from the right-hand side of the pitch and the Bulls lost by a very fine margin of two points.
Stephenson and his teammates shouldn't be disheartened by this loss, however they have proved that they can compete with a top team right down to the wire
There is no doubt this may act as a catalyst for future performances.
BRADFORD: Alix Stephenson, Ryan Leadbeater, Josh Rickett, Scott Culling, Ryan Butterworth, Rowan Milnes, Jack Wilson, Oliver Wilson, Reiss Butterworth, Evan Hodgson, Matthew Storton, Vytas Vasnys, Wilf Moxon.
INTERCHANGES: Keelan Foster, Ebon Scurr, Brandan Wilkinson, Bradley Gallagher
CASTLEFORD: Jake Sweeting, Lewis Carr, Robbie Storey, Patrick Diskin, Jack Render, Callum McLelland, Jake Trueman, Rory Dixon, Luke Million, Jack Ray, Joe Summers, Luis Johnson, Patrick Burns
INTERCHANGES: Jaques O'Neill, Harvey Kear, Evan Morris and Nathan Waring