Fax strengthen top four claims with derby success over Bradford at Odsal

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Halifax reinforced their top four credentials with a dominant 22-12 win over Bradford Bulls in the Championship derby at Odsal.

Richard Marshall’s side, who moved into fourth last weekend after beating Dewsbury, led 10-0 at the break and 16-0 deep into the second half before closing out a fifth win in seven meetings between the sides since the Bulls’ relegation from Super League.

Halifax, who lost their in-form back rower Simon Grix inside the first 10 minutes with an arm injury, had opened the scoring at the end of the first quarter.

With his forwards making good ground, stand off Scott Murrell hoisted the ball high towards the corner flag where centre Ben Heaton out jumped Bulls winger Omari Caro to claim the ball, drove hard for the line and then slipped winger James Saltonstall over by the corner flag.

Steve Tyrer’s conversion attempt drifted just wide, but the visitors scored again on the half hour.

Again, it was Murrell’s boot that did the initial damage, Bradford’s Johnny Campbell being forced to shove Halifax half back Ben Johnston off the ball as he threatened to collect Murrell’s grubber kick.

Campbell’s reward was a yellow card, while Halifax ran the penalty with confidence, back rower Shane Grady bursting through the line two plays later to score and Tyrer converting for a 10-0 lead.

That was how it stayed until the break, although Halifax went closest to adding a further score, Tyrer just failing to hold Johnston’s cross kick in the final minute of the half.

Both sides had chances early in the second period, but it wasn’t until the 62nd minute that Halifax added to their lead, breaking a rare period of Bradford dominance to score through Johnston, who raced on to Murrell’s clever kick.

Bradford finally got on the scoresheet with 14 minutes remaining through Illlies Macani, Oscar Thomas converting.

But Halifax, who host Oldham on Easter Monday, sealed things with a James Saltonstall try and a Steve Tyrer penalty, before Ethan Ryan added a last minute Bradford consolation, Thomas converting.

Bradford: Thomas; Campbell, Oakes, Ryan, Caro; Pryce, Keyes; Magrin, Moore, Kirk, Bentley, Larroyer, Wilkinson. Subs: Roche, Davies, Hodgson, Macani

Halifax: Sharp; Saltonstall, Tyrer, Heaton, Worrincy; Murrell, Johnston; Tangata, Kaye, Cahalane, Grady, Grix, Fairbank. Subs: Barber, Morris, Moore, Boyle

Referee: T. Crashley