31st March 2014

FRANCIS CUMMINS believes his Bradford Bulls have set a solid platform to build on following yesterday’s narrow loss at the hands of high-flying Widnes Vikings.

The Lancashire outfit were left clinging on to claim a 22-18 triumph over the weekend as head coach Cummins’ Bradford went within a whisker of victory.

The Bulls trailed 16-6 at the interval but found themselves within a try of levelling matters, with the round seven First Utility Super League clash entering its dying stages.

The Vikings – who have only lost once this season – somehow held on to snatch another two points, but boss Cummins took plenty of heart from the tie.

He said: “The boys again showed great character and I was really pleased with their efforts.

“We showed some decent skill and came mighty close to pulling off a win against the odds.

“We knew the opposition were really struggling and that is pleasing because we were smart in conserving our energy levels.

“I am not sure what the average age of our current line-up is, though it is becoming clear that we have some hugely talented players featuring in a very young team.

“Initially, we seemed to be suffering some form of hangover from the previous weekend.

“But we really improved after half-time, gaining some much-needed territory which led us to points.

“We put Widnes under pressure and the tempo went up. The opposition appeared to struggle with that.

“We were hanging on at times but that was mainly down to personnel rather than anything else.

“What we need to do is keep on improving and making sure our strong spells last longer.”

Full-back Brett Kearney bagged arguably the try of the month – if not the try of the season – a quarter of an hour from time.

And with the Australian beginning to re-find his best form, Cummins was quick to sing his praises.

“Brett’s form was really poor towards the start of the season, mainly in terms of his defence, but he picked up last week and I thought he was very good yesterday,” added Cummins.

“His form is coming back and he is starting to look sharp. That is what we need, the guys with the experience playing well.”

The Bulls return to action this coming Sunday, entertaining Oldham in round four of the Tetley’s Challenge Cup (kick-off 2.00pm)

Though Cummins is hopeful of being able to rest players, the Bradford chief realises his side cannot afford to take Scott Naylor’s Roughyeds lightly.

“The game will probably provide us with a little bit of a distraction, a bit of breathing space at the very least,” he said.

“It might give the odd player, who may be nursing a bump or a bruise, a chance to rest up for a week.

“But we have not got lots of players and some of our boys will be cup tied. It is all about building on recent performances for us.

“This is not a game we can overlook as anything can happen in the cup – and we very much want to progress.”

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