Dewsbury Rams 16
Bradford Bulls 42
By Andrew Hunt
DEWSBURY Rams produced a gallant second-half display as they lost to a near full-strength Bradford Bulls side at Tetley’s Stadium last Sunday.
Although Bradford built up a 30-0 first-half lead, scoring five converted tries, Dewsbury stuck to their gameplan and edged the second half 16-12.
Bradford fielded a number of their Super League stars, including a trio of Dewsbury lads in hooker Matt Diskin, prop Tom Burgess and substitute Paul Sykes, but it was one of their new signings who stole the show as scrum-half Luke Gale had a terrific game.
He had a hand in Bradford’s best moves and crossed for two tries and landed seven out of seven conversions despite the blustery conditions.
Bradford took a third-minute lead as new recruit Adrian Purtell made the perfect start to his Bulls career. Australian full-back Brett Kearney was sent through a gap only to be met by a ferocious tackle from opposite number James Craven.
Kearney managed to play the ball before receiving treatment and Bradford moved quickly right before Australian Purtell was on the end of a kick to score.
Scott Spaven had an eventful first half as he was clattered by a late tackle by Craig Kopczak, a foul for which the one time Dewsbury target was sin-binned. Spaven was later helped from the field after falling heavily under a challenge from Phil Joseph.
Bradford were still down to 12 men as they added a second try when Gale jinked through a gap and dived over before adding the conversion.
Winger Shaun Ainscough came inside to run the ball and having jinked passed two tacklers, he held off two more before planting the ball between the posts and Gale’s conversion put the Bulls 18-0 up after just 22 minutes.
Joseph made a storming break soon after coming on and set up the position for Gale to cross for his second try.
The pick of Bradford’s tries came after 32 minutes when a lovely move ended when ex-Thornhill junior Paul Sykes raced 25 yards to the line.
Dewsbury did have their moments and looked to have pulled a try back just before half-time.
With Spaven receiving treatment on the ground, Dewsbury moved play right. Craven flicked a pass between his legs to Michael Wainwright, who flipped it back inside for centre Ryan Esders to cross, only to be brought back for a forward pass.
The Bulls made changes in the second half, including the introduction of Nick Scruton and a second spell for 19-year-old Burgess, who stands 6ft 6ins tall and is 18-and-a-half stones.
Joseph barged his way between the posts after 49 minutes and Gale’s conversion stretched Bradford’s lead to 36-0 before the Rams hit back.
A series of penalties gave Dewsbury good field position and after George Flanagan was held short, Pat Walker moved play right and Esders raced over for a try which Walker converted.
Dewsbury suffered another injury when Ed Barber was helped from the field. They responded by scoring a second try when Walker leaped to gather a bouncing ball and fed Ayden Faal, who raced in for his third try in two pre-season games.
Burgess showed his sheer power and strength when he held off three tacklers to plunge the ball over the line to the right of the posts and Gale landed his seventh goal.
However Dewsbury scored the final try when former Bull Flanagan darted over from acting half-back and Walker landed the simple goal.