Bradford Bulls 6-22 Halifax Panthers: Highlights and match report

A struggling Bradford side met a Halifax team looking to bounce back after a shock defeat to London Broncos last week at the Summer Bash in Headingley today.

Highlights:

Bradford unable to take their chances
It was not that Bradford didn’t get any opportunities at Halifax’s line, but they were unable to make the most of their field position for large periods of the game. Patton was busy throughout the match, but was unable to find a way through relentless defence. Halifax on the other hand, punished Bradford’s mistakes in the first half to earn their 16 point lead, which was ultimately too much to ask of a feisty second half Bradford side, even with Halifax receiving a red card.

Determined performance from Halifax
It looked as though the game was going to be far more straightforward than it ended up, as Fax went two tries up in the first quarter. However, Bradford did not lie down and heavily tested Halifax’s defence. Halifax scrambled well when they found themselves pinned back, and took the opportunities when they were presented with them. After going down to 12, they dug in even more and saw out what will look like a much more comfortable victory on paper than in actuality.

Match Report:

The game started as many might have predicted, with Halifax enjoying the stronger start. The favourites started to win the battle for field position in the early stages, and it paid off as Louis Jouffret set up Ben Tibbs to spin his way over out wide in the 7th minute. The conversion was missed.

Just under ten minutes later, Halifax were in again, as Elliott Kear failed to deal with a Joe Keyes bomb, and Jacob Banks profited to put Halifax two scores ahead in the opening 17. Keyes then adds to extras to make it 0-10.

Halifax backed up their try with more pressure, earning a repeat set, but were unable to score. The two sides traded sets for the following ten minutes with Bradford slowly getting themselves more into the game. By the half an hour mark, Bradford were piling the pressure on, as Millar went close and Bradford spent time on the Halifax line. However, it was not to be, as Joe Keyes broke the line Bradford were unable to deal with the half back’s punt forward, and Zack McComb went in on the brink of the half and Keyes added the extras to make it 0-16 at half time.

Bradford came out fighting after the half, as Dec Patton collected his own grubber to go over but was held up by multiple determined Halifax defenders. The pressure lasts, but Bradford are unable to punish Halifax’s slow start to the second 40, and the first ten minutes of the half is one-way traffic. The pressure on Halifax worsened in the 55th minute, as Joe Martin saw red for a high shot.

Despite Halifax being reduced to 12, it was the same story as the first half as just five minutes later they extended their lead courtesy of a solo Zack McComb kick and chase. To add to Bradford’s woes, George Flanagan got himself sin binned for dissent immediately after the try, before Keyes converted to make it 0-22.

Just four minutes later, the Bulls did give themselves a lifeline with Kieran Gill going over from acting half and Dec Patton adding the extras to make it a 16 point game with just over 15 minutes to play. The game finally returned to a slower pace in the following minutes, as Halifax avoided letting Bradford dictate the final period, and got themselves on top. They did enough to keep Bradford at bay, and saw themselves to their sixth victory in the last seven.

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