Bridlington RUFC 26
Bradford Salem 3
AFTER the disappointment of losing out in the National Cup to Widnes last week, Dukes Park witnessed a confident return to league action against bottom club Bradford Salem who were fighting for the win that would keep their slim survival hopes alive.
Bridlington received the kick playing with the slight slope but were soon forced into a major reshuffle after only three minutes when South African full back Sizwe Zondo was forced off with a recurrence of a hamstring injury, Gareth Roberts replaced him on the wing.
It was obvious the big Bradford pack were fired up for the match and soon took the game to Brid, pressing hard in attack and forcing some last gasp defending before Brid launched into a series of attacks of their own.
Despite increasing their possession and forcing Bradford back on numerous occasions it wasn’t until the 26th minutes that saw the first points of the match.
With Brid hammering at the Bradford line the visiting defence were caught offside and a penalty given. Grabbing the initiative quickly player-coach Kieran Lawry took the tap penalty and powered through three defenders to crash over for the try.
This was just what Brid deserved for their excellent play and was the signal for an excellent remaining 15 minutes.
Just five minutes after Brid’s first try they were on the scoresheet again when some good pressure on the Bradford scrum forced a hurried pass back to their stand off.
With the Bradford player trying to clear the line with a kick inside his try line Brid flanker Mark Oliver closed the ball down and blocked the kick enabling Will Davies to react the quickest and pounce on the ball to score. Stevie Mellonby missed the conversion but the score was now 12-0.
Bradford came back into the game knowing their league survival was on the line and began throwing everything at Brid.
Salem embarked on a relentless period off pressure with them camping on the Brid try line for the last 10 minutes of the half but despite them pounding away just two or three metres from the Brid line the home defence held firm when many others would have broken.
Then in a flash Brid turned defence into attack and worked the ball all the way down field for Jamie Muru to crown a great first half with a fine solo try, successfully converted by Mellonby to make the scores at half time 19-0.
The second half was quite a poor show compared to the first as Brid were immediately forced back and into defensive mode for most of the remainder of the game.
Bradford’s new found energy forced a Brid penalty after only two minutes which, successfully converted, made the score 19-3.
Bradford sensed the possibility of a highly unlikely comeback but this was thwarted time and again by some fantastic Brid defence which left the visitors running out of ideas.
Despite making a couple of substitutions, bringing Callum Yorke and John Lee on for Micky Edmond and Daniel Perkin respectively Brid could still not find a way into the second half and often struggled to keep hold of any possession they could manage.
Although Brid’s attacking skills had deserted them their defence remained solid and Salem soon began to lose confidence from getting driven back time and again.
With the clock running down and the final whistle approaching Brid winger Regan Stirk capped a fine performance with an individual try full of power and skill as he finished a great backs move by rounding two defenders to score.
With Mellonby slotting home the difficult kick for the extra two points Brid finished the game in the ascendancy with the final whistle blowing to sound a good bonus point win .
Next week will see a major test of Brid’s development with the visit of in-form local rivals Scarborough.
Club sponsors: North Bay Caravan Park and Hudson Contract Services