Rugby League: Bradford keep title race close

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BRADFORD NORTHERN kept up their title challenge with yesterday's 26-18 win over Halifax. They jump over them into third place with the same number of points, 22, as the leading pair, Wigan and Warrington, writes Richard Wetherell.

Steve McGowan, formerly a centre but now on the wing, scored a hat-trick. With Paul Dixon also scoring Bradford were 20-8 ahead just after the break. Halifax fought back with tries by John Bentley and Gary Divorty but Bradford's fifth try, by Neil Summers, sealed the victory.

Castleford are three points behind the trio after their 28-18 win at Featherstone. St John Ellis scored two tries in the opening 17 minutes to take this season's tally to 22 and after the home side closed the gap with Steve Molloy's try, Castleford took charge once more. Ian Smales, a former Rovers player, increased Castleford's lead with a 57th minute try and Dean Sampson and Tony Smith added further tries. Late efforts by Owen Simpson and Iva Ropati made the score respectable.

Dewsbury are to be reported to the Rugby League after refusing to play yesterday's Second Division match against Batley. They ignored the referee's ruling that the Mount Pleasant pitch, which the clubs share, was 'perfectly playable'. A year ago, Hunslet did the same thing. Their opponents? Batley.