Rugby Union: Leeds in rout of Northern: Lowes cuts dash past Bradford - Ruane found wanting at Wheldon Road

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The Independent Online
Leeds. . . . . . . . . . . . .33

Bradford Northern. . . . . . .10

RUTHLESS and flamboyant finishing saw Leeds through an extraordinary Silk Cut Challenge Cup quarter- final yesterday with a margin of comfort that astonished even their most optimistic supporters.

Leeds have now seen off two of the First Division's pacemakers in the last two rounds of the Cup and the way in which they sent Bradford the way of Warrington spoke volumes for their temperament as well as their obvious skill.

They not only survived a first half during which they were pounded almost incessantly by one of the game's most formidable teams, but they displayed razor- sharp opportunism in taking and holding a lead.

Leeds had hardly been out of their own half when their 17-year- old winger, Francis Cummins, took Garry Schofield's pass from the scrum base almost on his own try line after 23 minutes. He stunned Bradford by going the length of the field, keeping just far enough ahead of three chasers and slipping out of Gerald Cordle's last-ditch diving tackle.

Bradford, without ever looking as sharp or effective as they can, continued to have the bulk of the play and Paul Newlove brought them within two points when he barged over after Alan Tait's tackle had halted Paul Dixon.

Two minutes before half-time, however, Leeds again seized their chance. Graham Holroyd, another of their young prodigies, who also finished with four conversions and a drop goal, snaffled an interception from Dave Watson on halfway and raced upfield to score.

Newlove fumbled Schofield's cross-kick for Ellery Hanley to pick up and claim Leeds's third try 11 minutes into the second half, but their fourth was entirely their own work and hugely impressive work at that.

The New Zealanders, Gary Mercer, Kevin Iro and Craig Innes, began the move deep in their own half, James Lowes got his pass away to Schofield and doubled around on the outside to complete an unforgettable try.

That, essentially, was the end of Northern, although one of their five former Leeds forwards, Trevor Clark, went over from Deryck Fox's pass for their second try.

Another mouth-watering exhibition of support play saw Hanley finish a move he had started for Leeds's fifth try and, three minutes from time, Schofield released Jim Fallon, who ploughed over in the corner with Daio Powell clinging to his back. It was a spectacular end to a spectacular display in front of an enthralled crowd of over 22,000.

Leeds: Tait; Fallon, Iro, Innes, Cummins; Holroyd, Schofield; Harmon, Lowes, Howard (Rose, 62), Mercer (Rose, 2; Mercer, 16; Vassilakopoulos, 72) Eyres, Hanley.

Bradford Northern: Watson; D Powell (Medley, 55), Shelford, Newlove, Cordle (D Powell, 73); Summers, Fox; Grayshon (Hamer, 63), Clark, Hamer (Heron, 40), R Powell, Dixon, Fairbank.

Referee: D Campbell (Widnes).