In a dress rehearsal for the Challenge Cup quarter final, the closing game of the first day of the Summer Bash pitted the Bradford Bulls against Halifax, as seventh took on eighth in the ongoing battle for a play-off place.

A win for the Bulls would lift them into third spot in a very congested and competitive top of the table, but should the two point be picked up by Halifax then they would draw level on points with their opposition today, and three other sides directly above them in the table.

There was little to choose between these two sides on paper for what was a fitting end to the fist day’s competition in Blackpool.

It was a superb Bradford opener on four minutes when David Foggin-Johnson flew over in the left corner to score despite his whole body being airborne over the tochline. Elliott Michella was unable to add the conversion but it was just the start that John Kear’s men were looking for.

Halifax were level three minutes later thanks to a Ben Kavanagh try, directly under the sticks after a Murrell high kick was tapped back into his path for a clear run to the line. Steve Tyrer added the goal for a 6-4 lead, Bradford weren’t going to have it all their own way.

Determination was again the watchword as Dalton Brown somehow managed to get the ball on the line after picking up a bounce pass in space but encountering traffic as he reached the line. Michella smacked the touchline conversion between the uprights for a 10-6 Bulls lead.

On twenty-four it was level again as Quentin Laulu-Togagae stepped off his left foot to create a gap and go in from five metres. Tyrer added the conversion and once again the lead swapped hands to Halifax’s advantage.

Minchella kicked a thirty metre penalty on thirty-two to tied the sides back together at 12-12 and when he kicked another from similar distance two minutes later the Bulls were back in command.

Halifax had a try ruled out on thirty-seven when Will Sharp seemed to have scored as he rolled the ball over the line but the referee ruled it out at the end of a superb first half played at a high pace by two determined sides.

The second half stalemate took until the sixty-fourth minute to break after a moment of magic with a QLT break down the middle before he supplied the supporting Elliott Morris to score under the sticks. Tyrer added the conversion for 18-14, a further lead change.

A push at the tackle gifted Halifax a Tyrer penalty from fifteen metres to extend the lead to six points with ten minutes remaining on the clock.

A Scott Murrell long range drop goal on seventy-seven won the match for Halifax after a bruising encounter.

This was a terrific win for Halifax against a very capable and determined Bradford side. With the lead changing on several occasions the points could have gone either way right up until that Murrell drop goal which sealed the win. While it doesn’t improve Fax’s league position, it does now put them into equal fourth spot on league points.

Bulls: Ryan, Grant (T), Webster, Oakes, Foggin-Johnston (T), Lilley, Milnes, Kirk, Hallas, Crossley, Storton, Minchella (3G), Wood. Subs: Roche, Green, Farrell, Wildie.

Halifax: Laulu-Togagae (T), Robinson, Tyrer (4G), Butler, Sharp, Murrell (DG), Kaye, Fairbank, Barber, Kavanagh (T), Morris (T), Cooper, Grix.  Subs: Fleming, Moore. Larroyer. Davies.

Referee: Tom Grant.

Half-Time: 14-12.

Full-Time: 14-21.

Attendance: 7,912.


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