Broken Bradford shake off woes in brave win
Wigan 22 Bradford 30
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.
The DW Stadium
Saturday 30 June 2012
If this turns out to be Bradford's last game in their current form, it is one in which they can take enormous pride. The Bulls have less than a week to find £1.2 million to save them from liquidation yet last night they looked anything but doomed as they fashioned the most unlikely of wins.
Playing with a gritty commitment, they held a two-point lead at half-time and clinched the win over 12-man Wigan with Karl Pryce's second try after Josh Charnley fumbled a kick five minutes from time.
Wigan made a whirlwind start, Anthony Gelling scoring from Gareth Hock's break after four minutes, and Pryce was sin-binned for slowing down play as the Bulls struggled to live with the league leaders.
Murphy then scored a stunning debut try but to their credit, Bradford did not look like folding, with the returning Pryce also scoring.
Even more remarkable was the Bulls taking the lead through Brett Kearney's long-range try and Luke Gale's second goal, and though Ben Flower edged Wigan back in front, Bradford again went ahead before the break thanks to Keith Lulia.
Dom Crosby put Wigan back in front again and it was surely asking too much for them to come back again, but when Michael McIlorum was sent off for a punch on Olivier Elima before the hour it became a little easier.
Incredibly, Elliot Whitehead got over to tie the scores and Gale's kick put the Bulls back in the lead and Pryce finished the job.
Wigan Murphy; Charnley, Goulding, Carmont, Gelling; O'Loughlin, Finch; Lauaki, McIlorum, Mossop, Lloyd, Hock, Farrell. Substitutes used L Tomkins, Hughes, Crosby, Flower.
Bradford Kearney; Ainscough, Platt, Lulia, Pryce; Sammut, Gale; Elima, L'Estrange, Manuokafoa, Bateman, Whitehead, Langley. Substitutes used Burgess, Walker, O'Brien, Olbison.
Referee T Roby (St Helens)
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