Pre-season round-up: Bradford beat Halifax, Dewsbury reach semi-finals, Hull thump Doncaster

Jacob Kilbride

We have rounded-up all of the action from the weekend’s pre-season matches. 

Bradford Bulls booked their place in the semi-finals of the Yorkshire Cup after overcoming West Yorkshire rivals Halifax in a 26-16 win.

The Bulls led in the opening quarter through Ethan Ryan and Elliot Minchella tries, though Steve Tyrer’s effort reduced the deficit to four before the break.

Bradford came on strongly in the second period, adding to their lead via a George Flanagan brace of tries and a Ross Oakes try.

Halifax salvaged some pride though, with a couple of tries from Jacob Fairbank and Chester Butler, though Bradford had done enough.

Halifax were the early pacesetters and after five minutes registered the first major chance with Steve Tyrer being narrowly held up by Rhys Evans in the left corner.

Bradford managed to snuff out the early pressure and broke the deadlock through a vintage acrobatic Ethan Ryan effort after Will Sharp failed to cut out Alex Stephenson’s decisive pass. Keyes’ conversion fell short.

Halifax were a man down when, minutes after coming off the bench, Ben Kavanagh was sin binned for a late challenge on Jordan Lilley and Fax were made to pay a set later, a swift pass from Keyes put Elliot Minchella over.

Keyes converted for a 10-0 lead for the hosts.

Both sides were down to 12 men when Lilley saw a yellow card for swinging arm as a feisty West Yorkshire derby unfolded as Odsal.

Having been under the cosh for most of the first-half, Halifax struck against the run of play in the final seconds. A brilliant looping pass from youngster Jordan Syme teed up Steve Tyrer, who converted his own try to leave Halifax trailing 10-6 at the break.

Fax maintained their late half form early in the second and the returning Ben Kavanagh almost made amends for his earlier ill-discipline when he charged towards the line, though he was ruled to have been held up.

Bradford made them pay moments later, with George Flanagan forcing his way over under the posts before another Keyes goal reaffirmed the ten-point margin.

Things went from bad to worse for Fax after Ed Barber was shown sin binned for blocking Jordan Lilley’s attempt to run onto his own kick.

A dozen minutes after his last score, a brilliant solo effort from Flanagan saw him twist his way over the whitewash for a second try, with Lilley landing the conversion.

The Bulls were in the ascendancy by now and their next try was their easiest to come by. Ross Oakes strolled over in the left corner on the overlap, capitalising on some poor Fax defending.

Lilley hit the post from the kick Bradford’s 20-point lead proved insurmountable.

Despite the score-line, Halifax remained live challengers and salvaged some pride with a couple of late score. Jacob Fairbank drove under the posts, before Tyrer again converted.

The lead was further cut to just ten points when Lilley’s kick was superbly closed on by Chester Butler who raced 70m to the corner. This time, Tyrer missed his conversion.

Ultimately, it was too little too late though for Halifax.

Elsewhere in the Yorkshire Cup, Sam Wood bagged a brace to inspire Batley Bulldogs to a 36-0 win over Hunslet at Odsal.

Dewsbury Rams booked their place in the semi-finals of the Yorkshire Cup with a 20-14 win against Featherstone Rovers at the Tetley’s Stadium.

Newly-promoted Championship side York City Knights eased past Hunslet Club Parkside 34-4 in Dewsbury. Matty Marsh and Brad Hey scored two tries each for the Knights.

In a pre-season friendly, Liam Harris bagged a hat-trick to help Hull FC thrash Doncaster 72-12 at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Pre-season results:

Bradford Bulls 26-16 Halifax

Dewsbury Rams 20-14 Featherstone Rovers

York City Knights 34-4 Hunslet Club Parkside

Batley Bulldogs 36-0 Hunslet

Doncaster 12-72 Hull FC