A tough, top of the table clash at Provident Stadium on Thursday night saw the Bulls knock London from the number one spot.
Bradford started strongly early on, scoring three tries inside the first 20 minutes, and keeping London to nil. James Clare pounced on a grubber and was first to get across the line, closely followed by Matty Blythe, and Kurt Haggerty, but Danny Addy was only able to convert one from three.
London rallied just before the half hour mark, and James Cunningham touched down in the corner for the capital’s first of the evening. An impressive conversion from the touchline followed for Leatherbarrow, and the deficit reduced to eight points.
Two more tries followed before half time – Jamie Thackray muscled his way across right under the posts, and two minutes later came an incredible break from Alex Foster, who danced his way across in the corner. Leatherbarrow kicked one from two, but London still went into the break leading 14-16.
Leatherbarrow got the second half underway, and Bradford responded quickly, with Ethan Ryan collecting his own grubber and crossing the whitewash within the first minute.
Foster followed up four minutes later with his second of the night, grabbing the ball and touching down centimetres before crossing the dead ball line, and London took the lead for a second time.
It was not to last, Haggerty bagged his second of the evening shortly after, and the Bulls were awarded two penalties within the final 15, opting to kick for the two each time. Both Addy’s attempts were successful (though he missed an attempted drop goal in the 68th minute), and they emerged eventual victors 28-20.
Speaking after the game, Head Coach, Andrew Henderson commended his side’s defensive effort, saying they competed hard, but failed to put Bradford under enough pressure.
“We had a slow start to the game, we lacked a bit of energy and urgency and gifted Bradford too much field position early, which they capitalised on.
“We did very well to get ourselves back in front at half time – which is a credit to the players – but in the second half we just didn’t have enough field position to win the game.
“I thought we defended really well for large periods, limiting Bradford’s opportunities. They managed to score four tries off kicks, which is disappointing, but fixable.
“That game is gone now, and we have to focus all our efforts on Monday. A sign of a good team is its bounce back ability.”
Bradford Bulls: Richie Mathers, Ethan Ryan, Matty Blythe, James Clare, Omari Caro, Lee Gaskell, Danny Addy, Paul Clough, Adam O’Brien, Steve Crossley, Kurt Haggerty, Tom Olbison, Jay Pitts
Interchange: Alex Mellor, Dan Fleming, Mitch Clark, Joe Lumb
Tries: Clare (5), Blythe (10), Haggerty (17, 50), Ryan (41)
Goals: Addy 2/5
London Broncos: Alex Walker, Rhys Williams, Ben Hellewell, Alex Foster, Elliot Kear, William Barthau, Scott Leatherbarrow, Nick Slyney, James Cunningham, Mark Ioane, Daniel Harrison, Matt Garside, Jack Bussey
Interchange: Andy Ackers, Mark Offerdahl, Eddie Battye, Jamie Thackray
Tries: Cunningham (27), Thackray (35), Foster (37, 45)
Goals: Leatherbarrow 2/4