Match Report: Bradford Bulls v Dewsbury Rams (Sun 26th Apr)


STEPHEN IBBETSON, Tetley’s Stadium, Sunday

BRADFORD BULLS made it back-to-back wins as an impressive first-half display helped put an end to Dewsbury Rams’ perfect start to the season.

In a clash which saw tenants Bradford host landlords Dewsbury at their own ground, it was John Kear’s men who were more at home as they followed up a dramatic one-point victory over Halifax last week with a more comfortable derby win.

Danny Brough led the way, tormenting the side he played his first professional games for, ably supported by Jordan Lilley behind a strong forward pack.

Dewsbury fought back in the second half but could never close the gap enough as resilient defence ensured the Bulls claimed the Jeff Grayshon Memorial Trophy, up for grabs for the first time following the passing of the legend of both clubs last month.

Brad England was denied the opener for an obstruction but had to wait only two more minutes for his first try for the club, supporting Lilley’s break after Ben Evans stripped the ball.

Brough converted and added a penalty when Reiss Butterworth stole from Ross Oakes, before his excellent kick led to their second try as David Foggin-Johnston made a spectacular leap to palm for Oakes to run in.

Another conversion and another penalty, for a high Jason Walton shot on Brandon Pickersgill, stretched the lead to 16-0 before Dewsbury finally got on the board shortly past the half-hour through Andy Gabriel, who did well to claim Liam Finn’s kick for a score improved by Paul Sykes.

But Bradford only extended their advantage with two further tries before the break. The first came the length of the field, with Foggin-Johnston darting from close to his own line and flying through broken field before finding opposite winger Joe Brown to squeeze down the touchline.

And they found more holes in the Rams defence on the stroke of half-time, Aaron Murphy breaking through and offloading for Brough, who smartly stepped Gabriel to finish and kept up his perfect record from the tee for a 22-6 advantage.

Dewsbury came out looking much sharper after the change of ends and only needed four minutes to close the gap by four, Gabriel flying into the corner for his second after a delayed Sykes pass and Joe Martin assist.

But where the Bulls were clinical in the first half, their opponents could not take their chances in the second. Will Oakes was held up and Sam Day was ruled to have lost the ball over the line as Bradford withstood heavy pressure, before a Brough field goal from close range earned a four-score advantage with only 13 minutes left to play.

There was time for Finn to slip Adam Ryder over in the closing stages but it was too late for a comeback for Lee Greenwood’s team, and instead the final word went to the victors.

Brough was again the architect as his high kick was claimed under no pressure by Brown for his second try.

GAMESTAR: Danny Brough delivered another performance that rolled back the years.

GAMEBREAKER: 20 minutes of excellent Bradford defence in the second half, before Brough’s field goal made their lead unassailable.

1 Brandon Pickersgill
2 Joe Brown
3 Rhys Evans
4 Ross Oakes
19 David Foggin-Johnston
6 Danny Brough
7 Jordan Lilley
17 Levy Nzoungou
9 Thomas Doyle
10 Steve Crossley
20 Brad England
12 Aaron Murphy
24 Ben Evans
Subs (all used)
11 Adam Rooks
15 Dan Fleming
18 Ebon Scurr
23 Anthony Walker

Tries: England (8), Oakes (21), Brown (35, 78), Brough (39)
Goals: Brough 7/7
Field goal: Brough (67)

1 Joe Martin
2 Andy Gabriel
3 Adam Ryder
15 Keenen Tomlinson
5 Will Oakes
6 Paul Sykes
7 Liam Finn
8 Frazer Morris
9 Reiss Butterworth
10 Tom Garratt
11 Jason Walton
12 Michael Knowles
13 Chris Annakin
Subs (all used)
14 Sam Day
20 Aaron Hall
23 Jon Magrin
26 Bayley Liu

Tries: Gabriel (31, 44), Ryder (73)
Goals: Sykes 1/3

Rugby Leaguer & League Express
Men of the Match
Bulls: Danny Brough
Rams: Andy Gabriel

Penalty count: 8-6; Half-time: 28-6
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas

SCORING SEQUENCE: 6-0, 8-0, 14-0, 16-0, 16-6, 22-6, 28-6; 28-10, 29-10, 29-14, 35-14

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