Bradford Bulls U19s 8 Warrington Wolves U19s 12

WARRINGTON Wolves put in a gritty performance to defeat a tough Bradford Bulls side in the under 19s Academy at the Provident Stadium on Thursday evening to move level on points with Leeds Rhinos at the top of the table.

The Wolves were not as clinical in attack as they have been of late but the defensive effort that the squad collectively put in was enough to see them record their seventh win in eight outings in a real arm wrestle of a game.

The first half was a very cagey affair with the Bulls having the lion’s share of the territory but some incredible tackling by the Wolves ensured that their line was only breached on one occasion, when the ball was swept across field for winger Keiran Warpole to score on 10 minutes following three successive sets deep in the Wolves half – this gave the home side a slender 4-0 half time advantage.

The Wolves came out firing after the break and six minutes into the second half, following a penalty that put them on the Bulls 10 metre line, scrum half Declan Patton gave a short ball to Toby King who forced his way over in the left corner and then three minutes later hooker Sean Kenny spotted a gap from dummy half and raced 40 metres before sending the supporting full back Jack Johnson away to score on the left.

The six-minute purple patch then saw the Wolves move further ahead as a clever reverse kick on the last tackle by Patton caught the Bulls defence out and as the ball bounced in the in-goal area Johnson reacted fastest to ground the ball just before it went dead to give the visitors an eight point cushion.

But with 10 minutes remaining a cross field kick by Bulls’ scrum half Adam Brook found centre Ross Oakes and he fed Warpole who stepped back inside to score on the right and set up a nervy finale.

The Wolves managed to stay calm and they saw the game out without any dramas to record a very hard fought 12-8 success.

Bulls: Brandon Pickersgill; Keiran Warpole, Ross Oakes, Brad Adams, Ethan Ryan; Macauley Baron, Adam Brook; Joe Buggle, Nathan Conroy, Nat Light, Alex Mellor, Emmerson Whittel, Toby Richardson. Subs: Liam Kirk, James Harrison, Jack Georgiou, Keenen Tomlinson.

Wolves: Jack Johnson; Brad Goulding, Harvey Livett, Toby King, Jake Eccleston; Louis Jouffret, Declan Patton; Robert Holroyd, Sean Kenny, George King, Joe Philbin, Sam Wilde, Ryan Maneely. Subs: Tom Walker, Morgan Nicholas, Daniel Murray, Daniel Hirst.