L'Estrange pulls the strings as defiant Bradford stay in hunt for play-offs

Bradford 38 Widnes 26

Odsal

Bradford continued their defiant, if precarious, survival campaign yesterday with victory in a contest in which attack always outshone defence. Heath L'Estrange scored his first try for 15 months and set up another four minutes later to put his side in control on the hour mark.

"All my trials, Lord, soon be over," sang the male voice choir before the first match since Super League declared its intention to buy the stricken Bulls.

Not as soon as they would like, perhaps. Players and staff will clock on today still facing an uncertain future, dependent upon the governing body running them until a long-term rescuer arrives. In the meantime, they went into this game with realistic hopes, despite their six point deduction, of a place in the play-offs.

Those hopes looked rather illusory during the first 10 minutes, as Widnes underlined their improvement by taking a 12-point lead, through tries from the former Bradford player, Patrick Ah Van, and another from Ben Davies.

The Bulls roused themselves to reply through Michael Platt, but the Vikings restored their advantage when Danny Craven dummied his way over.The rest of the first 40 minutes belonged to Bradford, with tries from Brett Kearney, Shaun Ainscough and Ben Jeffries – his 100th in Super League.

With the impressive Keith Lulia running riot in the centres, the Bulls seemed to be on their way to another victory to sustain their morale, but, on the stroke of half-time, Widnes's Rhys Hanbury wrestled his way through some weak tackling that was typical of both sides' defensive efforts, to cut their lead to two points.

The second half was not as frenetic and gave the impression that the side scoring first would go on to win it. So it proved, with L'Estrange the pivotal player. First, he burrowed his way over from close range and then supplied the pass for Platt to claim his second.

Ah Van kept the Vikings' interest alive, but after the Bulls had failed with two drop-goal attempts Ainscough's second sealed the win.Not even a sudden deluge could dampen the enthusiasm of 10,000 Bradford supporters.

Bradford Kearney; Ainscough, Platt, Lulia, Pryoe; Jeffries, Gale; Kopczak, L'Estrange, Hargreaves, Olbison, Whitehead, Langley. Substitutes used Burgess, Manuokafoa, Walker, Addy.

Widnes Phelps; Isa, Marsh, Dean, Ah Van; Craven, Hanbury; Davies, McShane, Pickersgill, Winterstein, Allen, Cahill. Substitutes used Clarke, Kite, Haggerty, Gerrard.

Referee S Ganson (St Helens).

BUY RUGBY WORLD CUP TICKETS

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test