Neither side picked up a win in Blackpool but who will bounce back with a victory at the Provident Stadium?
Last Time Out
Bradford Bulls played their part in a thrilling Championship battle with Leigh Centurions, but it was the latter who came out on top 24-20. Bradford started the game in fine fettle and they scored the first two tries of the evening through Danny Williams and Mitch Clark. However, Leigh finally woke up and got themselves back in the game before half-time with tries from Liam Kay and Josh Drinkwater. The momentum that the Centurions gained in the latter stages of the first period carried over into the second half as Adam Higson put his side in front with an acrobatic effort following a long pass. The conversion was successful from Reynolds, who added a penalty goal for good measure later on in the half to extend the lead to eight points. With just under half an hour to go, Adam O’Brien swooped in to stop the bleeding and cut the deficit in half. The game was very edgy in the final quarter and Danny Addy barged his way over the whitewash on 75 minutes to tie the scores at 18-18. Oscar Thomas converted the try and Bradford looked on the verge of their second win in as many matches under new coach Rohan Smith. But there was to be a twist in the tale. Micky Higham pounced on a Drinkwater grubber in the dying embers of the clash to spark wild scenes in the stand of Leigh fans while leaving Bradford deflated at the thought of coming so close to beating the table-toppers.
Dewsbury Rams lost out to Batley Bulldogs in the first game of the second day at Bloomfield Road. The final score read 28-24 to the Bulldogs but the start of the game belonged to the Rams, who scored the first two tries of the game thanks to Jason Crookes and Paul Sykes. Sykes was on target with both conversions. Batley responded with a couple of four pointers themselves courtesy of Chris Ulugia and Greg Minikin. Only one conversion was successful but Pat Walker did level the scores at 12-12 later on with a penalty goal. The final try of the first half went to Dewsbury’s Dale Morton, who latched on to a monster punt downfield which wrong-footed the Batley winger and all the Rams man had to do was go around Dave Scott on his way to the try-line. Sykes converted for an 18-12 lead at the break. In the second half, Sykes added a penalty goal to make it a two score game but then the Bulldogs took charge. Interchange forwards Tom Lillycrop and James Brown both crossed the whitewash to put Batley in the lead for the first time in the game. However, Dalton Grant posted an acrobatic try in the corner to level matters once again but, unfortunately for the Rams, Sykes couldn’t convert from the corner. Batley managed to win the game with a penalty goal and a drop goal from the boot of Walker before Brambani extended the lead with his own one pointer in the dying embers of the clash.
Rohan Smith decided to use his utility players to the best of their ability at the weekend as James Clare started at full-back, Richie Mathers in the halves and Danny Addy played out of dummy-half. The plan nearly worked as the Bulls came within a couple of minutes of victory against Leigh until Micky Higham snatched the win from their grasp. Adam O’Brien started on the bench but came on and ended up scoring an important try as Bradford clawed their way back in front during the second half. Coach Smith has realised the potential at his disposal and the duo of O’Brien and Addy are at the forefront. Joel Farrell was the starting hooker for Dewsbury against Batley last Sunday, with fellow dummy-half Tom Hemingway on the bench. Farrell is a strong tackler and he also poses a threat to the opposition in attack too. Hemingway offers utility value for the Rams as he is a talented half-back but he usually plies his trade from hooker nowadays.
Bradford will be wanting to enhance their top four challenge with a win on home turf against the Rams. If the Bulls play to the same standard as what they did in Blackpool then it’ll take a great effort by their opponents to deny them the win. Dewsbury will be focusing on getting as high up the table as possible due to the fact Qualifiers rugby seems out of the question – Bradford by 18