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Halifax 34-46 Bradford Bulls

Halifax (24) 34
Tries: Gannon, Penkywicz, Watene, Jones, Barlow, Beswick
Holroyd, Jones 4

Bradford (32) 46
Tries: Royston, Raynor 2, Platt, Whitehead, Ah Van, Burgess, Sibbit
Ah Van 7

Gareth Raynor

Highlights - Halifax 34-46 Bradford

Bradford kept their heads to beat West Yorkshire rivals Halifax in a Challenge Cup fourth round try fest.

In a first half of 10 tries, Bradford went in 32-24 in front.

A mere four more came after the break but, only briefly, did the Bulls look in real trouble.

Sam Barlow struck within three minutes of the restart to cut the Bulls' lead to four points, but tries from Ian Sibbit, Gareth Raynor (his second) and Patrick Ah Van closed it out.

Bradford were upset by the loss of centre Chev Walker through injury after just four minutes.

But former Great Britain winger Raynor scored in each half to help see off their neighbours, while Shad Royston scored against the club he left last winter and there were further Bulls tries for Michael Platt, Elliott Whitehead, Patrick Ah Van, Tom Burgess and Ian Sibbit.

The home side's other five try scorers were Jim Gannon, Sean Penkywicz, Frank Watene, Bob Beswick and Danny Jones, who kicked four goals, while veteran Graham Holroyd also landed Fax's first conversion

Halifax had hoped to spring an upset to press their claims for a Super League place later this summer.

But there was still plenty to encourage the watching Brian Noble as he prepares to start work with Fax as a consultant next week.

Bradford building confidence - Whitehead

The former Bradford, Wigan and Great Britain coach was at The Shay to fulfil his commitments as a BBC summariser and looked likely to witness a comfortable win for his old Bulls side when the visitors established a 10-0 lead inside eight minutes.

After former Halifax favourite Royston went over from dummy half for the first of the visitors' eight tries, he then provided the pass for left winger Raynor to go over, Ah Van kicking the first of his seven goals.

Royston, a member of Halifax's Championship Grand Final-winning team last September, was also heavily involved in Michael Platt's 20th-minute try to make it a memorable return to The Shay.

But the Bulls could never pull away from their spirited opponents, who pulled a try back from veteran forward Gannon on 13 minutes and benefited from the introduction of hooker Penkywicz from the bench.

He scored within seconds of entering the action, nipping over from dummy half, and also created tries for fellow replacements Watene and Jones in the second quarter.

A solo try from second-rower Whitehead, who fooled the Halifax defence with two dummies on a touchline run on the last tackle, kept the visitors in front.

Ah Van then picked off a Penkywicz pass to stroll over for a 40-metre interception try and teenager Burgess gathered a loose ball to score his first for Bradford to ensure they kept their noses in front.

The Bulls' lead was cut to just four points three minutes into the second half when Barlow collected Ben Black's kick to score a fifth Halifax try, but the home side continued to make life difficult for themselves.

A succession of penalties enabled Bradford to pile on the pressure, while Whitehead produced two one-on-one ball steals on the unfortunate Rob Worrincy to keep the home side on the back foot.

Prop Craig Kopczak got over the line only to fail to ground the ball but the pressure finally told when second rower Sibbit took Marc Herbert's pass to cross for a seventh try.

Ah Van's conversion made it 38-28 and Raynor then made sure of victory when he raced over for his second try on 62 minutes, Ah Van rounding off the scoring with a penalty.

Raynor was denied a hat-trick when his 73rd-minute touchdown was disallowed for obstruction and Whitehead also had a try ruled out for a knock-on.

But Halifax at least had the final say when hooker Beswick scored their sixth try in stoppage time.

Halifax coach Matt Calland:

"We couldn't have got off to a worst start but this team never gives in.

"I'm pleased with the effort and commitment but I'm a bit frustrated. Bradford were there for the taking with their loss of form and injuries.

"We didn't look after the ball coming out of our own half. We were dumb at times and we were caned 7-1 in the penalty count.

"We will always score points but we need to be better defensively."

Bradford coach Mick Potter:

Bulls have work to do - Potter

"There are a lot of things I'm not happy with. The most important thing was getting the result and we did that.

"It probably made for good television with a lot of tries scored but defensively we need to be a lot better.

"We were always in a position to win and, even though they got to within two points, I was confident the players would still produce the goods.

"Chev Walker is going is going for x-rays tonight. He can't put any weight on it. He doesn't know how he got the injury."

Halifax: Greenwood; White, Patterson, Nash, Worrincy; Holroyd, Black; Gannon, Beswick, Cherryholme, Smith, Bannister, S Barlow.

Replacements: Jones, Aizue, Penkywicz, Watene.

Bradford: Royston; Ah Van, Platt, Walker, Raynor; Briggs, Herbert; Lynch, L'Estrange, Kopczak, Whitehead, Sibbit, Donaldson.

Replacements: Hargreaves, O'Brien, Burgess, Bateman.

Attendance: 5,045.

Referee: Phil Bentham (Warrington).

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see also
Noble accepts new role at Halifax
08 May 11 |  Rugby League
Bradford 14-58 Warrington
01 May 11 |  Rugby League
Rugby League on the BBC
15 Oct 10 |  Rugby League
Rugby League commentaries
03 Apr 10 |  Rugby League

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