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Bulls on play-off charge
Bradford beat struggling Widnes to keep play-off hopes alive
Battling Bradford gave warning that they have not given up on a top eight place in the Super League with a 38-26 victory over Widnes on Sunday.
The cash-strapped Bulls recently suffered a triple blow to their play-off hopes through back-to-back defeats against Leeds and Warrington either side of a six-point deduction by the Rugby Football League for entering administration.
But, having put together three wins on the trot immediately before that, the seven tries to five win over the struggling Vikings keeps alive the Yorkshire side's hopes of reaching the end of season shoot-out for the first time in four years.
Widnes, who had won two of their previous four games while pushing St Helens and Hull KR close, remain second from bottom of the table, just two points above basement club London Broncos.
As torrential rain swept down on Odsal the Bulls were forced to dig deep and come from 16-4 down midway through the first half.
The visitors made a strong start with two tries, both converted by Rhys Hanbury, in the opening 10 minutes.
Former Bradford winger Patrick Ah Van latched onto a long pass from Cameron Phelps and dived into the corner to put the visitors ahead.
Hep Cahill then sent Ben Davies charging through the middle and his momentum, on the rain soaked turf, took him over the whitewash to score.
Bradford hit back almost immediately with some swift handling that freed Michael Platt up to cross, although Luke Gale failed to emulate his opposite number with the conversion.
Danny Craven capitalised on a Bulls handling error and dummied his way to the line to restore Widnes' 12-point advantage before three tries in 12 minutes put the Bulls ahead for the first time.
Brett Kearney, Shaun Ainscough and Ben Jeffries - his 100th touchdown in club rugby - all crossed to leave the Bulls with a 22-16 lead.
But there was still time in a frenetic first half for Hanbury to twist his way over, but the Vikings' half back's attempt to level things going into the break failed as he struck the near upright with his subsequent kick.
After registering 42 points in better than even time before the interval it took a further 18 minutes for the scoreboard to be called into action again.
Bulls skipper Heath L'Estrange finally broke the deadlock, forcing his way over from dummy half for his first try of the season.
L'Estrange was also involved as Michael Platt extended the hosts' lead four to 12 points shortly afterwards but Ah Van gave Widnes hope with a second try near the corner flag, taking over the kicking to convert his own score and reduce the deficit.
Jeffries had a drop-goal charged down and Kearney saw a try disallowed for offside following another attempt at a one-pointer from Gale.
But Ainscough's second try secured the win and two vital league points, Gale finishing with five goals from seven attempts.
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Super League Table
|9||Hull K R||22||20|
|11||Salford Red Devils||22||17|
|13||Bradford Bulls *||22||4|
|Thursday 31st July|
|20:00||Wigan vs Salford|
|Friday 1st August|
|20:00||Hull vs St Helens|
|20:00||Catalan Dragons vs Warrington|
|20:00||Leeds vs Bradford|
|Sunday 3rd August|
|15:00||Widnes vs Hull K R|
|15:00||Wakefield vs Huddersfield|
|15:30||Castleford vs London Broncos|
|Thursday 14th August|
|20:00||Hull K R vs Wigan|
|Friday 15th August|
|20:00||Salford vs Catalan Dragons|
|20:00||Warrington vs Castleford|
|Sunday 27th July|
|Huddersfield 38 - 16 Catalan Dragons|
|Bradford 16 - 8 Wigan|
|Warrington 26 - 40 Wakefield|
|Saturday 26th July|
|London Broncos 10 - 62 Hull K R|
|Friday 25th July|
|Salford 18 - 22 Leeds|
|St Helens 44 - 22 Widnes|
|Thursday 24th July|
|Hull 18 - 18 Castleford|
|Sunday 20th July|
|Hull K R 18 - 38 Salford|
|Huddersfield 52 - 26 Bradford|
|Saturday 19th July|
|Catalan Dragons 40 - 6 Wakefield|
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