Resilient Leeds buck the Broncos defeat

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Rugby League

DAVE HADFIELD

Leeds 32 Bradford 30

Leeds, behind by 10 points at half-time, escaped to win this local battle by the narrowest of margins at Headingley last night.

Leeds have been in a state of mild shock since they were beaten by London Broncos on Sunday night. That was not improved when, after Paul Cook had given them the lead with an early penalty, Bradford grabbed the first try.

Jon Hamer did the hard work with a strong run down the middle, and although Deryck Fox's final pass looked suspiciously forward, the debutant loose forward Graeme Shaw raced through to score.

Bradford failed to capitalise on some promising positions before Leeds responded through Mike Forshaw after Garry Schofield - under scrutiny for a possible World Cup recall - and Tony Kemp had paved the way.

Robbie Paul made Bradford's dominance pay, skipping out of a succession of tackles to go behind the sticks and leave Fox an easy second goal.

Bradford's third converted try was symptomatic of the way Leeds were failing abjectly to put them under pressure. The ball came to the unpretentious forward Alan Boothroyd on the final tackle and his only option of a chip kick came up trumps when Carl Hall went through a static defence to touch down.

Karl Fairbank gave Leeds an invitation back into the game with the first touch of the second half, knocking on straight from the kick-off. From the scrum, a simple move with Schofield sent Kemp over and Cook's kick put Leeds within four points.

Leeds were still no more adept at holding Bradford back however, Fairbank making up for his blunder by sending in Andy Ireland. Fairbank's fluctuating evening continued when another knock-on led to a Leeds try from Neil Harmon, again improved by Cook.

There was a double setback for Bradford when Jon Scales had a try disallowed for putting a foot in touch and Jason Donohue was sent to the sin-bin for holding down in the tackle.

Leeds declined to go for goal and were vindicated when Craig Innes's pass sent in Marvin Golden, with Cook's kick putting them ahead. Within three minutes Kemp Innes and Francis Cummins had linked up for Jason Lowes to score.

Bradford were not finished though, the veteran winger Gerald Cordle going over with three minutes left, but Leeds, for all their first-half frailties, had shown the resilience to earn their win.

Leeds: Cook, Fallon, Golden, Innes, Cummins, Kemp, Schofield, Harmon, Lowes, McDermott (Fozzard, 16), Mercer (Morley, 68), Mann, Forshaw (M Shaw, h/t). Substitute not used: Gibbons.

Bradford: Ellis, Cordle, Hall, Paul, Scales, Summers (D Simpson, 58), Box, Ireland, Hamer (Boothroyd, 31), Fairbank, Dixon (Powell, 31), G Shaw. Substitute not used: Tomlinson.

Referee: S Cummings (Widnes).

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