Welham hat-trick sees Bradford extend winning start for Lowes

Kris Welham.
Kris Welham.
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Bradford Bulls went two points clear at the top of the Kingstone Press Championship after maintaining their perfect start to the season with this win over Swinton on the artificial pitch at Widnes’s Halton Stadium.

Kris Welham, the Bulls’ close-season signing from Hull KR, scored a hat-trick of tries, while Tom Olbison touched down twice and others came from Matty Blythe, James Clare, Omari Caro and Lee Gaskell. Danny Addy kicked six goals.

Swinton, who are still looking for their first win of the season, scored tries through Josh Barlow, Shaun Robinson and Greg Scott, with Chris Atkin kicking two goals.

Head coach James Lowes – who gave competitive debuts to off-season signing Oscar Thomas and Academy graduate Joe Lumb – thought the Bulls were sloppy at times, giving cheap turnovers to Swinton.

“Joe (Lumb) and Oscar (Thomas) have worked hard in the off-season and Lumby certainly impressed in the two pre-season games along with his attitude in training,” said Lowes. “I just felt he deserved to have a go this week.

“If they are doing well and they’re taking their opportunities then there is no reason why they can’t go on to have a decent career.

“At times we were sloppy with the ball, loose in the carry, gave away cheap turnovers and that allowed Swinton to get some energy back in their game. But it was another important win.

“You try and practise for every eventuality, but like the other week when Ben Kavanagh came off and we put Tom Olbison at prop and he did a really great job, you don’t practise that.

“Where we can, we’ll try and keep our pivotal players playing and look after them the best we can. That will help us build consistency across the board and within our performances.”

Swinton: Butt, Robinson, R. Lloyd, Hallett, Scott, White, Atkin, Morrison, Hood, Forster, Thornley, Dwyer, Lever. Substitutes: Nash, Hand, Barlow, Austin.

Bradford: Thomas, Clare, Purtell, Welham, Caro, Gaskell, Addy, Sidlow, O’Brien, Olbison, Ferguson, Mellor, Pitts. Substitutes: Blythe, Lovegrove, Clark, Lumb.

Referee: C Kendall (RFL)