Rugby League: Northern reveal their true grit: Castleford kept at bay

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The Independent Online
Castleford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6

Bradford Northern . . . . . . . . . . . .13

BRADFORD retained the right to be regarded as Yorkshire's most credible championship contenders, weathering all that Castleford could throw at them yesterday to record their first league win at Wheldon Road for 10 years.

Northern scored tries, both gems in their way, through Paul Newlove and Gerald Cordle but owed their victory to their ability to keep Castleford at bay, especially in a second half during which they were under almost constant pressure.

The strong running of Tawera Nikau could have brought Castleford the points, but Tony Morrison failed to take advantage of one break, Grant Anderson and Mike Ford were guilty of forward passes from others and Ford dropped the ball near the line with time running out.

Despite that series of escapes, Bradford were a long way from being undeserving winners. They had taken the lead with a Deryck Fox penalty and then profited from the sort of power that makes Newlove a British version of the Australian destroyer Mal Meninga.

Newlove took a pass from Neil Summers on half way and, though he twice seemed to have been stopped, managed to bludgeon his way over. Fox's conversion made it 8-0 but Castleford, for whom St John Ellis twice went close, were still full partners in a gripping drama.

Immediately before half- time, Lee Crooks's kick was spooned up from Brimah Kebbie's boot for Ford to score and Crooks's conversion put Castleford back in contention.

They had the bulk of the play and the best of the chances after the break, but perished because of Bradford's ability to seize what was on offer.

David Heron, now 35 and playing in his occasional position of stand-off after replacing Summers, was the architect of the try that saw them home. Newlove had been halted just short of the line by five tacklers and Heron took play to the right, paralysed the defence with a couple of dummies and flung a pass to Cordle and the wing clung on for the try.

Castleford: Steadman; Ellis, Blackmore (Smith, 70), Anderson, Middleton; Kemp, Ford; Crooks, Russell, Ketteridge (Sampson, 56), Morrison, Smales, Nikau.

Bradford Northern: Watson; Cordle, McGowan, Newlove, Kebbie; Summers (Heron, 40), Fox; Hobbs, Medley, Hamer, Powell, Dixon, Fairbank (Clark, 46).

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).