Rugby League: Newlove's try lifts Bradford: Title contest kept alive

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The Independent Online
Bradford Northern. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .24

Castleford. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

IF ever one try put the hope back into a side from which it was draining away it was the long-range solo effort by the Great Britain centre, Paul Newlove, 12 minutes into the second half at Odsal last night.

Bradford were on their way to a third consecutive home defeat, one that would have spelt the end for their dwindling championship hopes. But Newlove's most significant try of the season inspired them to overhaul the challenge of Castleford and re-establish next week's two matches against Wigan as the contests that will decide the title.

Castleford's mistakes in bad conditions allowed Bradford to make an ideal start. Richie Blackmore's pass was too low for Graham Steadman to hold and they surrendered possession in their own 25. On the sixth tackle, Deryck Fox and Trevor Clark managed to keep the ball alive for Daio Powell to go over.

Castleford showed new ideas until a break initiated by Tawera Nikau took them into Bradford's territory. Northern allowed Richard Russell to dart over from acting half-back, Lee Crooks adding the goal to give Castleford the lead.

Castleford, with realistic ambitions for second place themselves, had a shaky spell when they lost Steadman with concussion after a heavy tackle from Karl Fairbank. They knew how to take their chances, however, Ian Smales managing to roll over for a second try despite being knocked over before the line.

A penalty by Fox reduced the margin but it was still an inadequate first half for a side with championship pretensions. Bradford continued to find themselves in attacking positions but lacked the imagination to score.

Just when they needed him most, Newlove issued a reminder of the devastating pace and power that can turn a match, running 80 yards and beating off a series of tackles as he went to score in the corner.

The try gave Bradford a lift. Within seven minutes, Fox had delayed his pass cleverly to send in Neil Summers.

St John Ellis touched down with four minutes to go, to set up a nervous finish, but Fox added a further goal and Northern and Newlove had done just enough to keep the championship race alive.

Bradford Northern: Summers; Hall, D Powell, Newlove, Cordle; Heron (Holding, 73), Fox; R Powell, Clark, Greenwood (Hamer, 54), Dixon (Greenwood, 77), Medley, Fairbank.

Castleford: Steadman (C Smith, 22); Ellis, Blackmore, Hay, Middleton; T Smith, Ford; Crooks, Russell, Sampson (Ketteridge, 56), Morrison, Smales, Nikau.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).