Paul hands victory to Halifax

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The Independent Online
Rugby League

DAVE HADFIELD

Halifax 20 Bradford 10

The contrasting fortunes of two full-backs determined the outcome of a disjointed game at Thrum Hall.

Robbie Paul, the younger brother of Wigan's Henry and clearly in the same league as far as natural ability is concerned, made two crucial mistakes in the second half to present Halifax with tries.

His failure to get underneath Wayne Parker's kick in the 43rd minute was punished when the ball bounced away from him and Simon Baldwin scored.

In injury time, with Bradford still probing for the converted try that would have given them a draw, the unfortunate Paul lost the ball in a tackle. John Fieldhouse picked up the loose ball and John Bentley put the game beyond doubt.

Mike Umaga, Halifax's former Western Samoan rugby union full-back, enjoyed a match that was as assured as Paul's was uncomfortable, defending securely and emerging as one of the very few players handling the ball with any confidence.

Last week's excuse for a spate of knock-ons was sweat on the ball. Yesterday's mistakes were presumably due to a torrential downpour before the kick- off, which should have averted the threat of standpipes in the Halifax area for the immediate future.

With neither side able to achieve any fluency, all the first half points came from penalties - Bradford's Deryck Fox landing three to the two from Umaga's fellow Samoan, John Schuster.

After Baldwin's try and two more Schuster goals, Paul Newlove's 200th career try, shortly after he had squandered a chance from Paul's excellent pass, put Bradford back in contention.

But then Carl Gillespie, the Halifax substitute, charged over after good work with Carl Briggs and Grant Anderson. Despite Paul Dixon getting over the line on his back, Bradford could not recover again.

Halifax: Umaga; Bentley, Schuster, Anderson, Preston; Briggs, Parker; Harrison, Rowley, W Jackson (Fieldhouse, 60), Moriarty (Gillespie, 56), M Jackson (Divorty, 69), Baldwin.

Bradford: Paul; Myers, Hall, Newlove, Cordle (Tomlinson, 25); Summers, Fox; Boothroyd (Bourneville, 22), Hodgkinson (Donohue, 58), Hamer (Ireland, 45) Dixon, Powell, Fairbank.

Referee: R Connolly (Wigan).

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