Brave Bulls still battling
Second straight defeat for Wildcats
Last Updated: 24/06/12 5:59pm
Bradford put their off-field problems aside to keep in touch with the play-off contenders with a hard-fought 34-26 victory over Wakefield.
The Bulls trailed by two points at half time but scored two tries to one and added a couple of penalties in the second half to edge home.
It was a second narrow defeat in a week for the Wildcats who, after three straight wins, also went down to a 44-40 defeat at Leeds on Monday.
Wakefield came from 18-6 down with three tries in 13 minutes to lead 20-18 at the break in this match but failed to keep the momentum going after the interval.
The Bulls went ahead as early as the second minute when Elliott Whitehead, playing despite his father Terry passing away during the week, chased onto a Luke Gale grubber kick aimed at the foot of the post.
Shortly after Heath L'Estrange and John Bateman combined to send Keith Lulia reaching out of a tackle to score and, with Gale adding the extras both times, the Bulls were already 12 points clear and appeared to be on their way.
Wakefield hit back when former Kiwi test star Ali Lauitiiti sent Vince Mellars racing clear and Paul Aiton was up in support to score, on loan from Bradford centre Paul Sykes converting to halve the deficit.
It looked like being a minor set-back for the Bulls as Jamie Langley picked up a loose ball and fed Michael Platt for Shaun Ainscough to score on the overlap.
But the Wildcats were quick to respond again with Ben Cockayne cutting in from the wing to score.
Smith then wriggled clear of a weak tackle to score, before a perfectly weighted pass from Sykes sent Frankie Mariano racing over the whitewash to put the Wildcats ahead for the first time.
The Bulls regained the lead seven minutes into the second period when Lulia broke clear from the halfway line after Ainscough had originally caused havoc in the Wakefield defence when running a ball back from his own goal-line.
Gale maintained a 100 per cent kicking record which eventually yielded seven goals, in blustery conditions, then added a penalty, after a high tackle from Oliver Wilkes on Whitehead, to inch the Odsal side 26-20 clear.
The Wildcats drew level again when Kyle Amor charged on to a Kyle Wood pass to score and Sykes, who ended with three goals from five attempts, converted, but Bradford were ahead again within three minutes through a try from Olivier Elima following a Gale grubber kick.
The Bulls moved two scores clear when John Bateman had the ball stolen and Gale slotted another penalty.
Wakefield were gifted a final chance when Gale was sin-binned with six minutes remaining after Sykes had made a 60-metre length of the field break only to be brought down by Ainscough just short of the whitewash.
But 12-man Bradford tenaciously held out for a welcome victory in these times of financial trouble.
First Utility Super League
Tue 30th Jun
Hull K R34 - 28Salford Red Devils
Wed 1st Jul
Wakefield Wildcats26 - 16Hull FC
Thu 2nd Jul
Warrington WolvesvsWigan Warriors
Fri 3rd Jul
Leeds RhinosvsSt Helens
Sun 5th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Hull K R
Hull FC0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Thu 9th Jul
Wigan WarriorsvsLeeds Rhinos
Fri 10th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Huddersfield Giants
Sun 12th Jul
Hull FC0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Salford Red Devils0 - 0Hull K R
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Warrington Wolves
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Thu 16th Jul
Warrington WolvesvsSt Helens
Fri 17th Jul
Hull K RvsHull FC
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Wigan Warriors0 - 0Widnes Vikings
Sat 18th Jul
Catalans DragonsvsHuddersfield Giants
Sun 19th Jul
Wakefield Wildcats0 - 0Castleford Tigers
Thu 23rd Jul
Hull FCvsWigan Warriors
Fri 24th Jul
St Helens0 - 0Hull K R
Sun 26th Jul
Huddersfield Giants0 - 0Wakefield Wildcats
Leeds Rhinos0 - 0Catalans Dragons
Widnes Vikings0 - 0Salford Red Devils
Castleford Tigers0 - 0Warrington Wolves