Roundhegians 24 - Bradford Salem 46
Salem take 4th place after bonus point win at Roundhegians
Bradford Salem moved into 4th spot in SSE Yorkshire Division 2 after what eventually proved to be a convincing bonus point win over Roundhegians at Chelwood Drive.
Salem suffered a set-back before the kick-off when the previously ever-present Sam Savage was forced to withdraw through illness but the late availability of veteran scrum-half Terry Franklin meant that original choice Danny Thomas was able to revert to his more customary position on the wing.
The Bradford side had the better of the early exchanges and it came as no surprise when they took an early 5-0 lead after winger Carl Walker touched down following a speculative kick and chase.
Despite Salem looking the more dangerous of the 2 sides, Roundhegians hit back with a converted try to take them into a 7-5 lead. However, a successful penalty from fly-half Andy Robinson gave Salem a slender 8-7 lead.
The visitors continued to dominate and they extended their lead when outside centre Tony Williams was on hand to support an excellent break from ever-dangerous full-back Danny Belcher and canter under the posts for a try improved by Robinson to put his side ahead by 15-7.
To their credit, Roundhegians did not let their heads drop and aided by a series of penalties from referee David King, they scored a second converted try to get them back to within a point. Then the Leeds side kicked a penalty to give them an unlikely 17-15 lead at the break.
Salem Head Coach Phil Nilsen was not unduly concerned by this 2 point deficit and in his half-time address he told his charges that if they stuck to their game-plan the tries would eventually come. This proved to be sound advice as Salem began to play with increasing intensity and confidence in the second half. Inevitably, the pressure started to tell and the visitors went back in front courtesy of a Danny Thomas try, Robinson adding the extras to give Salem a 22-17 advantage.
The Heaton outfit was well on top at this stage and the lead soon increased when skipper and Number 8 Damien Pearson, who was having another outstanding game, drove over for a try following a prolonged period of pressure to put his side 27-17 ahead.
Thomas then showed some superb elusive skills to score an excellent solo try improved by Robinson to extend the lead to 34-17 but a rare defensive lapse allowed Roundhegians to hit back with a converted try of their own to reduce the deficit to 34-24.
However, this respite proved to be short-lived as shortly after Walker finished off a swift handling move in the backs to score his second try to give Salem an unassailable 39-24 lead. Then Thomas showed great pace to complete his hat-trick, Robinson landing the simple conversion to seal a 46-24 victory.