Ainscough hat-trick helps Bulls forget their troubles
Bradford 46 Castleford 32
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.
Tuesday 05 June 2012
Bradford put the trauma over their uncertain future to one side last night with a win that lifts them into the top eight – at the expense of the champions, Leeds.
The Bulls were always ahead in a wide-open game of 14 tries, but gave worrying hints of throwing away their advantage in the second half. It was not until Shaun Ainscough competed his hat-trick in the 75th minute that the points were safe.
Cas showed some good attacking instincts, especially through the revived Rangi Chase, but simply missed too many tackles to win any game.
Given their deepening financial problems – with £1.25m now apparently needed to get them through to the end of the season – it would be excusable if the Bulls often looked distracted.
There was nothing wrong with their focus, however, as they played to their strengths to take an early lead. Ben Jeffries kicked to the towering Karl Pryce and his clever, back-hand pass released Keith Lulia. Two minutes later, a lovely combination between Jeffries and Luke Gale opened a gap for Brett Kearney and you would have thought Bradford didn't have a care in the world.
That changed when Jordan Thompson took Chase's long pass to hit back for Cas as the tries mounted. The scoring then slowed down slightly after the interval, but Rhys Williams got over for Cas. Three minutes later, he had a second. The alarm bells were ringing as the half wore on. An eight-point lead in such a high-scoring match looked precarious, but Ainscough's third, five minutes from time, made sure.
Bradford Kearney; Ainscough, Lulia, Platt, Pryce; Jeffries, Gale; Manuokafoa, L'Estrange, Hargreaves, Olbison, Bateman, Elima. Substitutes used Sibbit, Whitehead, Burgess, Addy.
Castleford Youngquest; Williams, Turner, Dixon, Griffin; Chase, Orr; Huby, Jones, Jackson, Ferres, Holmes, Mitchell. Substitutes used Walker, Massey, McGoldrick, Millington.
Referee B Thaler (Wakefield).
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