Rugby League: Heron's party trick puts Bradford on top

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The Independent Online
Widnes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8

Bradford Northern. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

BRADFORD not only beat a dismal Widnes last night, they did so by precisely the margin they needed to go back to the top of the First Division on points difference, writes Dave Hadfield.

A much-changed Widnes side had a listless and demoralised look from the start, and they were soon punished. A long run from Paul Medley forced them back and when they conceded a penalty for offside, Northern moved the ball to the right for Dave Watson and Darrall Shelford to open the path to the line for Neil Summers.

Paul Newlove showed the power of a prop and the pace of a winger in going 40 yards from Watson's pass for a brilliant second try.

Bradford did not take the immediate grip that their two tries in the first nine minutes suggested. Widnes even stumbled upon a couple of try-scoring chances, Christian Tyrer being beaten to his own kick by Paul Grayshon and Paul Moriarty failing to hold a pass from Bobby Goulding.

The fragility of Widnes' defence was soon apparent again, however, Karl Fairbank crossing twice within four minutes.

Deryck Fox's two conversions gave Bradford the 20-point lead they needed to take over at the top of the table, but Widnes showed a little more resilience in keeping them at bay on either side of half-time.

Their own attacking ambitions amounted to little, though, and it was only a matter of time before Bradford struck again. Their try arrived in mocking fashion, David Heron's 35-year-old legs carrying him clear of the Widnes defence.

Bradford were guilty of easing up in the second half, but Heron repeated his party trick with nine minutes to go to score on the right wing.

Widnes's two Smiths, David and Peter, scored two tries in the last few minutes as Bradford's efforts slackened, but they returned to the top by the narrowest of margins.

Widnes: Ruane; P Smith, Hammond, Devereux, Hadley; Tyrer (O'Reilly, 33), Goulding; Ireland, McCurrie, D Smith, Moriarty, Faimalo, Davidson.

Bradford Northern: Watson; Summers, Shelford (Simpson, 40), Newlove (Medley, 62), Kebbie (Shelford, 76); Heron, Fox; Grayshon, Clark, Hamer, Powell, Medley (Winterburn, 43), Fairbank.

Referee: C Morris (Huddersfield).