DESPITE their best efforts, North Wales Crusaders fell to a 50-12 defeat at the hands of Betfred League One leaders Bradford Bulls.
Crusaders were punished for their mistakes by the full-time outfit whilst they saw two of their own efforts ruled out in a frustrating afternoon at Odsal.
The Bulls opened the scoring with eight minutes gone Dane Chisholm found a gap in the visitors’ defence which he ran through to score.
Moments later it looked as if the Welsh side had responded as a kick rebounded off the Bradford defence into the hands Alex Thompson who sent Gavin Conroy over the whitewash. However, the try was ruled out for offside.
On the back of regaining possession the hosts doubled their advantage. Using their position following a penalty to their advantage, Bradford worked the ball out wide to Lee Smith who crossed in the corner.
Minutes later they crossed for their third of the afternoon as Smith beat Conroy in the air to gather a high-kick and ground the ball, taking the Bull’s lead to 16-0.
Following a period of strong defence from the Crusaders, Bradford’s continued pressure eventually paid off once again as Brandon Pickersgill caught the visitors’ defence by surprise as he leapt over the line in the corner.
On the hooter Bradford extended their lead through Ethan Ryan who crossed in the corner to send the teams into the break at 28-0.
The second-half got off to a bad start for Anthony Murray’s Crusaders side as Alex Trumper saw yellow for a dangerous tackle.
Taking advantage of their extra man, the Bulls scored two quick-fire tries. First, Matthew Garside ran into space before finishing beneath the posts, and he was quickly followed by Keys to take Bradford’s lead to 40-0.
However, to their credit the Crusaders refused to give up. With 60 minutes on the clock they opened their account as Trumper found Dale Bloomfield out wide who beat the Bradford defence to the corner where he scored.
He was quickly followed over by Simon Atherton who gathered a short kick behind the Bradford defence before grounding the ball.
As they worked their way back into the game, the Crusaders looked to have scored a third in as many minutes with some smart play seeing Kenny Baker set free to score only for play to be pulled back after a pass in the build up had been deemed forward.
With possession back with the Bulls, the home side made it count, crossing twice more before the final hooter as Garside ran over for his second of the afternoon before Ryan followed him over with minutes remaining to take the final score to 50-12.
Murray’s Crusaders side will now look to respond next weekend as they host second-placed York City knights at the Queensway Stadium.