First half tries tip derby in Bulls’ favour

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Two tries in the five minutes before the break tipped the West Yorkshire derby in Bradford’s favour as they ran out 18-4 Summer Bash winners over Halifax at Bloomfield Road.

The Bulls struck twice, through Ryan Shaw and Adrian Purtell, to break a 35-minute stalemate against a Fax side who again belied their part-time status and relatively modest playing budget with a high quality performance.

The opening quarter had been a virtual carbon copy of the Good Friday game at Odsal; Halifax, who had led 13-2 at the break that night, with more energy and more vigour, but lacking the attacking edge that might have brought more tangible reward .

They did go close, first through the young full back Ben Johnston and then centre Chris Taylor, before hooker Ben Kaye was held up over the line in the 16th-minute.

Gradually though, Bradford’s strength started to tell with the Bulls first dominating territorially and then on the scoreboard.

As so often this season, half back Lee Gaskell was the dangerman.

The former St Helens player had already gone clear once by the time he engineered successive breaks for full back Shaw in the minutes before half time, Shaw finishing the first one himself and putting the second on a plate for Purtell.

Shaw converted both for a 12-0 lead that was harsh on Fax, but still a perfect illustration of the difference in quality.

Fax emerged from the dressing rooms like a scalded cat though and with four minutes they were off the mark, centre Ben Heaton applying a super finish to Scott Murrell’s pass wide on the right.

The conversion was missed to leave the score at 12-4 and Halifax needed a great tackle from Dane Manning to hold Gaskell up over the whitewash.

Purtell had grabbed a second on the 60-minute mark, Addy converting for 18-4, and although Halifax went close through Saxton, who had a try ruled out for a foot in touch, then again through Murrell, they never really got close enough to threaten an upset.

Bradford: Shaw; Williams, Purtell, Henry, Uaisele; Gaskell, Addy; Clough, O’Brien, Olbison, Pitts, Mellor. Subs: Lauaki, Crossley, Baile, Mendeika

Halifax: Johnston; Saltonstall, Heaton, Taylor, Saxton; Murrell, Craven; Ambler, Kaye, Cahalane, Divorty, Manning, Robinson. Subs: Moore, Maneely, Barber, Dickinson

Referee: Joe Cobb