Rugby League: Botica's Magic Ends Bull's Run
Hadfield, Dave, The Independent (London, England)
Castleford 26 Bradford Bulls 23
Frano Botica showed that he retains enough of his old magic to upset the odds as Castleford inflicted a first defeat since Cup Final day on Bradford.
The Bulls, out on their own as Yorkshire's best side so far this season and still harbouring hopes of catching St Helens and Wigan at the top, seemed to be doing just about sufficient to maintain their winning run before a decisive five minutes from the former Wigan half-back.
Botica began the attack that sent Castleford into the lead on the hour, bobbing up again later in the move to slip through Jermey Donougher's tackle and score wide on the right.
That gave Castleford, playing their most convincing rugby this year, a three-point lead, but they only began to see themselves as likely winners when Botica struck again. His line of attack was a high kick down the touchline. While the Bradford defenders hung back expecting it to drift into touch, Botica got there himself to claim the ball and set up David Chapman for a try on to which Botica tagged his fifth goal.
The Bulls were still not finished. Robbie Paul and Matt Calland sent Bernard Dwyer over for a try that ensured a hectic last seven minutes. The Castleford defence held up well enough to force handling mistakes in situations where Bradford could have made the crucial breakthrough and the home side clung to a deserved win. …