Bulls make light of Pryce's dismissal

Bradford 30 Castleford 10
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The Independent Online

On the day they paraded the Challenge Cup around Odsal, Bradford showed that it will take more than a little adversity to put them off course as they try to add the Super League Trophy.

On the day they paraded the Challenge Cup around Odsal, Bradford showed that it will take more than a little adversity to put them off course as they try to add the Super League Trophy.

The Bulls overcame the handicap of having their stand-off, Leon Pryce, sent off for a late and high tackle on Danny Orr in the first half – only the third dismissal in Super League this season.

Orr also took no further part in the game and, without him, Castleford lacked the craft and conviction to make their advantage tell.

In a match interrupted by penalties, they still had no answer to the bustle of Bradford's giant wingers, Tevita Vaikona and Lesley Vainikolo, nor the even bigger prop Joe Vagana, who won the man of the match award for his barnstorming display in the second half.

Bradford took an early lead through Paul Deacon's penalty, awarded against Ryan Hudson for dissent, but were caught out when Michael Smith used his considerable strength to force his way over their line for a try converted by Wayne Bartrim.

The Bulls had to withstand concerted pressure after that, but went ahead thanks to Deacon and his enterprise in shimmying through a gap when Castleford were expecting a kick on the last tackle. He found Pryce and Tevita Vaikona scored in the corner with Deacon adding an excellent conversion.

Three minutes later, Pryce was the provider again as Vaikona bulldozed his way over for his second with Deacon again adding the extra two points.

Pryce's next intervention was the opposite of his good work with the ball however, as he raced into Orr. The half-back went off concussed and Pryce followed him after being shown the red card, Bartrim putting over a penalty to complete the punishment.

Deacon's penalty for ball-stealing kept the depleted Bulls eight points ahead at half-time. That was whittled down by Bartrim 11 minutes into the second half.

It was then that Vangana took a decisive hand in proceedings, going over from close range when he hit James Lowes' pass at full speed and then setting up Deacon's try with a rampaging run and offload to Robbie Paul.

Deacon's two conversions, plus a late penalty as the game became increasingly niggly, gave him seven goals and a total of 18 points as his side kept up the pressure on Leeds at the top of the table.

Bradford: Paul; Vaikona, Naylor, Hape, Vainikolo; L Pryce, Deacon; Vagana, Lowes, Moore, Peacock, Gartner, Gilmour. Substitutes used: Pratt, Radford, Parker, Anderson.

Castleford: Saxton; W Pryce, Gibson, Eagar, Rogers; Orr, Healey; Sykes, Hudson, Jackson, Smith, Fritz, Bartrim. Substitutes used: Godwin, Johnson, Blakeway, Skerrett.

Referee: S Ganson (St Helens).

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