Deacon casts spell on Hull

Hull 24 Bradford 42 Half-time: 2-22
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The Independent Online

Bradford closed the gap between them and Hull in the Super League table to a single point with a commanding display, built around an influential performance from Paul Deacon.

Bradford closed the gap between them and Hull in the Super League table to a single point with a commanding display, built around an influential performance from Paul Deacon.

Deacon kicked nine goals and was involved in much of the best Bulls work, but he was playing behind a pack that had the upper hand from the start against Hull forwards who were pale shadows of their recent selves.

The first half started badly and got worse for Hull, Richard Whiting's kick-off went straight out on the full and two penalties conceded by Jamie Thackray effectively presented Bradford with an immediate four-point lead.

Hull should at least have been level, but Stuart Reardon did well to get back and tackle Shaun Briscoe as he threatened to go the length of the field after picking off Deacon's kick. Hull forced a drop-out to maintain the pressure and halve the lead through Paul Cooke's kick.

It was a scrappy affair, with most attacking intent snuffed out by good defence. That was all changed by a moment of incisive play in the 22nd minute, with Deacon's sharp pass opening up the Hull defensive line as Nathan Blacklock went looking for an interception leaving instead an inviting gap for Brad Meyers. Deacon also handled twice in, to that point, the best move of the match.

It helped Brett Ferres score his maiden try for the club with his first touch after coming on as a substitute, wrestling his way over the line despite three tacklers.

Two minutes before half-time, Hull's task became a daunting one, Leon Pryce taking the pass from another recently arrived substitute, Robbie Paul, and stepping out of Briscoe's attempted tackle to go 45 yards for Bradford's third converted try.

Hull, unrecognisable from their last home game against St Helens, went off to unmistakable sounds of dissatisfaction from their supporters.

The home side had more spark about them at the start of the second half, Garreth Carvell scoring from Cooke's pass after Stuart Fielden had lost the ball. Hull had another try disallowed when Paul McNicholas' pass to Whiting was ruled forward.

Deacon's penalty kept Bradford well in control and then his precise cross-field kick set up Reardon for the try that took the game beyond Hull's reach.

Leon Pryce laid on a try for his younger brother, Karl, as the Bulls disappeared over the horizon, making two Gareth Raynor tries, both set up by the persevering Cooke, irrelevant.

It summed up Hull's night when Leon Pryce seized upon an interception for Bradford's sixth try with Blacklock getting a late consolation for Hull.

Hull: Briscoe; Blacklock, Whiting, Yeaman, Raynor; Cooke, Horne; Dowse, King, Thackray, Chester, Kearney, McMenemy. Substitutes: Saxton, Carvell, Brough, McNicholas.

Bradford: Withers; Reardon, B Harris, L Pryce, K Pryce; I Harris, Deacon; Lynch, Pratt, Fielden, Peacock, Meyers, Radford. Substitutes: Paul, Vagana, Cook, Ferres,

Referee: A Klein (London).

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