Rugby League: Bradford have the finishing power

Warrington Wolves 14 Bradford Bulls 22
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BRADFORD FOUND Warrington much sterner opposition in Super League than in the Challenge Cup, but finished the stronger to consolidate their place in the top five. A try 12 minutes from time from their Australian second-rower, David Boyle, broke the deadlock yesterday in a contest that was intriguingly balanced, although it was the Bulls who always seemed to have the winning of it.

Warrington, who conceded 52 points in their Cup tie at Odsal, were chasing the game virtually throughout, succeeding twice in catching it, once with a try of quite exceptional brilliance. It was a standard they could not sustain for long enough.

Bradford took an early lead when James Lowe's kick wrong-footed the defence by skidding to a halt just short of the dead-ball line to allow Stuart Spruce to dive through and claim the four points.

Lee Briers's penalty halved that lead, but when Henry Paul combined with Boyle to send Michael Withers over, it seemed that Bradford were getting into their stride.

It will come as little consolation to Warrington after a second Super League defeat in a row that the try that brought them level for the first time was as good as anything that anyone will produce this season.

Gary Chambers and Simon Gillies both did remarkably well to keep the ball alive, Briers slung it out to Alan Hunte, who measured his pass perfectly for Mark Forster. Lee Penny, sharp and dangerous all afternoon, backed up to take the inside pass and with Briers' conversion Warrington were on level terms at half-time.

Henry Paul's high kick, touched on by Stuart Fielden, came back to him as the Bulls once again took the lead early in the second half, Scott Naylor completing a move which Warrington clearly felt involved a knock- on.

Warrington equalised with a similar effort, Briers' bomb this time bouncing clear of a tangle of players for Forster to touch down. In conditions that worsened steadily during the second half due to hail and sleet storms, it was always likely that a mistake would be decisive. So it proved, Steve McCurrie losing the greasy ball in Paul Deacon's tackle and Lowes using the gift of possession to send Boyle driving over.

Henry Paul's second conversion puts Bradford six points ahead and Briers did not help matters by putting his kick-off straight into touch. When Warrington were penalised for ripping the ball loose, Paul's third goal put the issue beyond doubt.

Warrington Wolves: Penny; Roach, Hunte, Kohe-Love, Forster; Duffy, Briers; Hilton, Farrar, Chambers, Gillies, Knott, Wainwright. Substitutes used: Leatham, McCurrie, Busby, Hanger.

Bradford Bulls: Spruce; Vaikona, Peacock, Naylor, Withers; H Paul, R Paul; McDermott, Lowes, Anderson, Boyle, Dwyer, Forshaw, Substitutes used: Beacon, Fielden, Pryce, Jowitt.

Referee: S Presley (Castleford).