Josh Wood, Ben Heaton, Daniel Murray,
Steve Tyrer 4,
Vila Halafihi, Ethan Ryan, Ted Chapelhow,
Oscar Thomas 3,
YESTERDAY afternoon, Bradford Bulls were narrowly beaten 20-18 by West Yorkshire rivals Halifax RLFC after a battling performance at the Mbi Shay.
The Bulls dominated the second half 18-6, which included a first Bradford try for Vila Halafihi, but despite both sides crossing the line three times it was Steve Tyrer’s first half penalty which separated the teams to give the blue and whites the two points.
The opening twenty minutes of the fixture hosted a typical, hotly disputed derby, as both sides went at it hammer and tong in search of bragging rights.
Halifax’s Ed Barber thought he had opened the scoring of the afternoon, latching onto a grubber kick, until play was called back for an offside penalty.
Ed Chamberlain was the next to step up as the winger looked to continue his scoring form, after an impressive two tries last week. The on-loan Widnes man dove over in the corner in impressive style, although much to his and the Bulls’ disappointment, the touch judge ruled him out of play.
Following an intense opening twenty minutes, Halifax nulled Bradford’s attacking threats, keeping them to a scoreless first half and crossing the line twice, as well as knocking over a penalty kick.
A sly offload and fast play from dummy half fooled the Bulls defensive line, creating gaps for the Fax attackers to dive through, giving them a 14-0 lead at the break.
Geoff Toovey’s half time team talk proved effective to his side, starting the second half much like the first, and continuing until the final minute.
Halafihi crossed the line for the first time in his Bradford career. The hooker came off the bench, scooped up a loose ball 30m off the Halifax line, and his sheer determination and effort refused him to be stopped.
As a pass went astray from the Bradford line, Halafihi took the ball and charged forward. Picking himself up after an initial incomplete tackle, he charged his way over the line to add Bradford’s first points of the afternoon.
Halifax bit back through former Bradford loanee, Dan Murray. The prop received the ball from dummy half, barging his way over the line, touching down in a two-man tackle.
Down but not out, Toovey’s side revealed their willpower and resolve to fight back, in a desperate effort to leave the Shay with a victory.
An Ethan Ryan try in the final minutes of the game sparked the Bulls defiance in the face of defeat, as the winger touched down in the corner.
Ted Chapelhow linked up with his Widnes counterpart, Chamberlain down the right edge, latching onto his jabbed kick forward, putting Bradford in touching distance of victory.
Halifax’s late resilience halted Bradford’s final charge as the side threw the ball from left to right in a desperate attempt to work their way downfield with the sound of the hooter beckoning in the background.
With the tremendous away support surging the Bulls on, Bradford were unable to break Halifax’s ranks for a final time and the home side claimed the points after a hard-fought fight from the men in red, amber and black.
BRADFORD BULLS: Thomas, Chamberlain, Mendeika, Gibson, Ryan, Keyes, Butterworth, Oledzki, Hallas, Magrin, Bentley, C. Smith, Roche.
Interchanges: Peltier, Kirk, Chapelhow, Halafihi
GOALS: Thomas (3)
TRIES: Halafihi (56’), Ryan (72’), Chapelhow (79’)
HALIFAX RLFC: Sharp, Bibby, Tyrer, Heaton, Worrincy, Murrell, Wood, Cahalane, Moore, Murray, Grady, Barber, Grix.
Interchanges: Morris, Walnes, Boyle, Kaye.
GOALS: Tyrer (4)
TRIES: Wood (20’), Heaton (23’), Murray (65’)