Bradford make rivals suffer
Rugby League: Bradford Bulls 54 Leeds 8
Dave Hadfield was a schoolboy convert to rugby league, the game which, one way or another, has dominated his life ever since. After working for newspapers in Shropshire and Blackpool (where he covered the fortunes of Blackpool Borough) he travelled the world, working mainly in Hong Kong and Sydney. He became The Independent's rugby league man in 1990 and has written five books on the game and broadcast extensively for Sky and the BBC. Dave played his last game at the age of 53 and would have set up a try if anyone could have been bothered supporting his break. When not writing about the sport, he now limits himself to a bit of tick and pass with his local club, the Bolton Mets. Family includes supporters - of varying degrees of dedication - of Salford, Wigan, Sheffield Eagles and St George Illawarra.
Saturday 25 May 1996
Leeds, watched by surely the smallest following they have taken to Odsal for many a year, had a couple of chances in the opening minutes. First Stuart Spruce, signed from Widnes this week, dropped the first high kick he faced and then another bomb from Graham Holroyd landed conveniently in Francis Cummins' arms, only for the Leeds' centre to lose it.
Those early escapes ushered in a prolonged period of sparring, during which any advantage Bradford's superior lead-up play brought them was squandered by losing the ball.
When they did hang on, however, they found Leeds as susceptible to the simple thrust from dummy half as they have been all season, the former Leeds' player, James Lowes, going over from close range.
Four minutes later, Brian McDermott went over from Lowes' pass - another try that Leeds should have prevented. McDermott then slightly spoiled the effect by being sent to the sin-bin along with his namesake, Leeds' Barrie, for fighting after the latter had been on the field for all of 30 seconds.
Leeds needed a bit of fight, but none of that commodity was evident when they were again out-muscled on their own line, yet another former team- mate, Jon Scales, forcing his way over.
Before half time, Lowes had added to their misery and Steve McNamara had kicked a fourth goal to leave them adrift.
McNamara added a penalty early in the second half followed by a try when Leeds yet again failed to defend their line. All Leeds could offer was the occasional ill-disciplined swipe at the opposition, which saw them further handicapped by the dismissal of Adrian Morley.
Ironically, a depleted Leeds now managed their first point, when Holroyd's kick bounced up perfectly for Cummins.
That was a mere hiccup for Bradford, as Graham Bradley sent in Karl Fairbank and then scored a try of his own. Spruce marked his debut with two tries near the end. The influential McNamara finished with nine goals, to underline his all-round contribution to an overwhelming display of superiority from the one-time poor relations.
The Leeds coach, Dean Bell, said that he would be making a formal approach to the club's board for money to spend on the new players. "Everybody else is strengthening while we are standing still," he said.
Bradford Bulls: Spruce, C Hassan, Calland, Loughlin, Scales, Bradley, Paul, Brian McDermott, Lowes, Fairbank, Donougher, Dwyer, McNamara. Substitutes: Tomlinson, Cook, Medley, Knox.
Leeds: Maher, Fallon, Cummins, Iro, Hall, Holroyd, Clark, Harmon, Newton, Howard, Mann, Morley, Mercer. Substitutes: Brown, P Hassan, Barrie McDermott, Forshaw.
Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).
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