London Broncos ran in seven tries as they crushed a young Bradford side in conditions that varied from OK to awful.
In the third minute, a hailstorm battered the pitch but both teams deserve credit for their handling in that part of the game.
The Broncos took the lead in the seventh minute with a neat try in the right corner, Alex Walker chiming into the line to score after neat link work between Jarrod Sammut and William Barthau.
Two minutes later, the Bulls suffered a blow when Jon Magrin suffered a head injury in a tackle and he took no further part in the match. Ten minutes later, it was the Broncos who lost a man, Andy Ackers injuring an ankle when dragged down from behind.
By this time, London’s lead had doubled when Barthau and Jay Pitts made big yards down the middle and, after a quick play-the-ball, Elliot Kear exploited a gap in the Bulls defensive line to touch down.
Bradford hit back with a try midway through the half from Kevin Larroyer. It came on the back of neat burst from Joe Keyes and Oscar Thomas improved the score.
The next score was critical, but it was a most unfortunate loose carry that gifted Matt Garside the score three tackles after the restart. He picked up the loose ball and sprinted 50 metres to the line.
Just before half-time, Bradford were penalised a couple of times and as they rested momentarily, Barthau darted over from acting half-back.
Then, as the hooter was about to sound, the Bulls defence was breached again, Garside again spotting a gap in the line to touch down.
The second half was a pale shadow of the first, though the break and another hailstorm probably played their parts in the sloppy first 20 minutes.
Proof of this was the Bulls’ second try, a close range effort from Colton Roche, but London had made three handling errors to give Bradford four sets.
The London response was immediate, but they got only two points because Sammut was hauled down, head-high, as he dashed towards the line. The Maltese international kicked the penalty.
Barthau thought he had scored his second try when he tried to duck under a pair of tacklers, but the referee saw the ball come out, so the Bulls had a scrum 10 metres out.
Sammut scored London’s next try in a magnificent flowing attack which started with Walker on his own line and involving wingers Rhys Williams and Kear, centres Dixon and Ben Helliwell, and the three halves, Adrian Purtell, Barthau and Sammut.
There was still time for Dixon go over in the right corner for a thrilling 50 metre run down the right sideline, evading three tacklers who tried to put him into touch. Sammut failed with the conversion, his only miss of the afternoon.
London coach Andrew Henderson, “That was right up there with the best performance of the season. Certainly the first half was as good as we have been this season.
“It wasn’t so good in the second half. We were a little sloppy and our intensity dropped a bit.
“But we came again in the last 20 minutes and finished off the game very well.”
Bradford interim head coach Leigh Beattie, “The mood in the dressing room is of devastation. There are no excuses, not the weather, not the pitch.
“London were far too good for us. And they were far too fast and strong for us.
“We are a young side and we’re going to come up with mistakes.”
24. Alex Walker, 2. Rhys Williams, 3. Ben Hellewell, 4. Adrian Purtell, 1. Elliot Kear, 6. Jarrod Sammut, 7. Will Barthau, 10. Mark Ioane, 14. Andy Ackers, 16. Junior Roqica, 11. Daniel Harrison, 12. Matt Garside, 13. Jay Pitts
5. Kieran Dixon, 17. Mark Offerdahl, 18. Ben Evans, 23. Matt Gee
Tries: Walker (7), Kear (18), Garside (25, 40), Barthau (34), Sammut (73), Dixon (76).
Goals: Sammutt 7/8.
14. Oscar Thomas, 5. Iliess Macani, 3. James Mendeika, 4. Ross Oakes, 2. Ethan Ryan, 1. Lee Smith, 7. Joe Keyes, 15. Jon Magrin, 34. Scott Moore, 22. Daniel Murray, 30. Joshua Jordan Roberts, 12 .Kevin Larroyer, 20. James Bentley
8. Liam Kirk, 11. Colton Roche, 19. Johnny Campbell, 30. Mikolaj Oledzki
Tries: Larroyer (22), Roche (58).
Goals: Thomas 2/2.
Ref: Tom Grant
Match sponsor: Anderson Travel
Match ball sponsor: Simply Air Conditioning
Written by David Ballheimer