Sunday 30th March 2014, 15:00
Super League - Round: 7
Jack Owens, Kevin Brown 2, Patrick Ah Van,
Liam Sutcliffe, Elliot Kear, Brett Kearney,
Danny Tickle 3,
Luke Gale 3,
Attendance: 5,581 Official: G Stokes Venue: Select Security Stadium Halton
Full Time Report
IT WAS a case of what might have been for Bradford Bulls this afternoon, as they fell to a narrow 22-18 defeat at the hands of Widnes Vikings.
Francis Cummins’ side were 16 points adrift after half an hour, but fought back admirably to set up a thrilling finish at the Select Security Stadium.
A Liam Sutcliffe try – on the stroke of half-time – lit the blue touch paper for a second-half fightback.
And it came right from the off, after the break, as the visiting Bulls crossed for a pair of impressive touchdowns.
Jack Owens ended a 15-minute stalemate with a dubious score, following a tense opening which saw Bradford go close on a couple of occasions.
The Vikings’ stand-in full-back appeared to have dropped the ball over the whitewash, though referee George Stokes awarded the try to a chorus of boos from the away end.
Danny Tickle was unable to add the extras from out wide, but he was on target shortly after when Kevin Brown crossed after selling the Bradford backline an eye-catching dummy.
The former Hull FC forward was called into action again in the minutes which followed, adding extras to a second Brown try – from bang in front.
Hosts Widnes were in total control as the half-hour mark passed.
But when Chris Dean was shown yellow by the man in the middle and ordered to the sin-bin, the Bulls were presented with a major opportunity.
And loanee Liam Sutcliffe made the most of Bradford’s sudden territorial advantage, weaving his way across the whitewash. Half-back Luke Gale brilliantly converted – five metres in from touch.
The visitors were back in the mix and they made a rip-roaring start to the second period.
Sam Wood galloped 70 metres, only to be hauled down just short.
But the Bulls were not to be stopped, Gale kicking high and wide for Elliot Kear to score a well-worked try.
The former Leeds and London talent again added the conversion.
Though the Vikings were soon back in control, as former Bull Patrick Ah Van pounced on a Cameron Phelps kick-through to touch down.
With the scoreboard reading 22-12 and less than 20 minutes remaining, Bradford were in desperate need of a score.
And their prayers were answered by Australian Brett Kearney, who produced a nomination for the try of the season as he raced 50 metres – avoiding four would-be tacklers – to dive over beneath the uprights.
Gale improved with ease and Bradford upped the ante, as the minutes ticked down.
But despite the Bulls’ best efforts, it was the Vikings who clung on to record their fifth victory of the season.
VIKINGS: Jack Owens, Paddy Flynn, Chris Dean, Cameron Phelps, Patrick Ah Van, Kevin Brown, Tom Gilmore, Alex Gerrard, Jon Clarke, Phil Joseph, Danny Galea, Danny Tickle, Hep Cahill.
Tries: Owens (15), Brown (24, 34), Ah Van (51)
Goals: Tickle 3/4
BULLS: Brett Kearney, Elliot Kear, Adam Henry, Adrian Purtell, Sam Wood, Liam Sutcliffe, Luke Gale, Manase Manuokafoa, Adam O’Brien, Chev Walker, Tom Olbison, Matty Blythe, James Donaldson. Subs: Danny Addy, Oliver Roberts, Anthony Mullally, Danny Bridge.
Tries: Sutcliffe (39), Kear (47), Kearney (67)
Goals: Gale 3/3
REFEREE: George Stokes