Rugby League: Thursfield's field day stops Bradford

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The Independent Online
Warrington 25

Bradford Northern 2

BRADFORD's unbeaten record collapsed like a house of cards under the determined onslaught from a Warrington side rediscovering the form that made them, as well as Northern, championship contenders last season, writes Dave Hadfield.

John Thursfield does not score many tries - something of an understatement as this was his first in 55 appearances - but the Warrington hooker turned all their early pressure into points, lunging over from acting half midway through the first period.

Bradford were punished further when Greg Mackey sent in Paul Cullen. Jonathan Davies missed both conversions, but more significant from Great Britain's point of view, went a long way towards proving his recovery from a groin injury with a brilliant break that would have brought a third try but for a fine tackle from Gerald Cordle.

It was a match Bradford needed to claw their way back into and they began to do so when an offside decision allowed Deryck Fox to register their first points.

But Warrington struck twice more before half-time, Allan Bateman following his own clever kick to the corner and then Davies pouncing on an equally good kick through from Francis Maloney. Davies landed both kicks this time.

The Davies' 'groin watch' had a worrying moment when he went down early in the second half, but a 40-yard drop goal suggested little damage.

A 35-yard penalty after David Fraisse had failed to play the ball properly then saw Davies make Warrington even more secure.

Davies, whose general kicking was also superb, landed another penalty to bring his tally to 13 points. Neither he nor his side had been as incisive after the break but they had done enough to end Bradford's run of eight straight wins.

Warrington: Penny; Forster, Bateman, Davies, Harris; Maloney, Mackey; Hilton, Thursfield, Tees (McGuire, 70), McGuire (Sanderson, 60), Cullen, Shelford (Wainwright, 74).

Bradford Northern: Watson; Cordle (Medley, h/t), Fraisse, Newlove, Myers; Summers, Fox; Powell, Donohue (McDermott, 52), Bourneville, Dixon, Fairbank, McDermott (Heron, h/t).

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).

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