Whitehaven 18 Bradford Bulls 46: Any thoughts that Bradford’s thoughts might be elsewhere after a traumatic fortnight at Odsal, were quickly dispelled in west Cumbria.

The Bulls laid the foundation for their comfortable victory by scoring 20 points in the first 17 minutes – an early blitz that threatened to blow Haven away.

But the home side settled down and an excellent spell, which proved to be their best of the game, saw them claw their way back to 20-12 and very much in the contest again.

Unfortunately for Haven, a touch of class from Australian half-back Dane Chisholm created a try for centre Alex Miller right on the hooter and three minutes after the restart he completed his hat-trick to effectively seal the home side’s fate.

There were three more tries for Bradford, despite some dogged work from Whitehaven, to keep them within sight and they did have the consolation of a third try themselves.

Despite all the well-publicised comments on Bradford’s floundering financial affairs, this was always going to be Haven’s toughest test. The professionalism of the full-time opposition saw them through and Whitehaven will clearly be focusing on the more winnable contests that lie ahead.

Coach James Coyle was looking for a big, powerful start from his side but it was Bradford who were out of the blocks quickest as Whitehaven looked hesitant and out-gunned.

The home side was initially broken down the middle by a long burst from winger Danny Williams and eventually Bradford went in through Danny Addy, who landed the conversion.

As the Bradford onslaught continued it looked as though they could score every time they attacked. Whitehaven looked fragile and vulnerable and on seven minutes another penetrative break down the middle spelt trouble.

This time it was Adam O’Brien who made good ground and from a subsequent penalty, Bradford tapped and found space to put Miller in for the second try, which went unconverted.

The tries flowed at regular intervals. After 12 minutes a brilliant long pass from O’Brien was picked-up off his ankles by Williams who strolled-in out wide. Lewis Charnock converted.

On 17 minutes the lead was extended to 20-0 when there was a hint of a forward pass before Matty Blythe scored an unconverted try.

It looked ominous for Whitehaven but gradually they started to make inroads themselves. They were rewarded with a well-taken try by Ugo Perez in 31 minutes, converted by Louis Jouffret and it got better when strong work by Chris Taylor at a play-the-ball got him in for the second try. Jouffret converted and there was just a feeling that they could get right back in the game.

In fact if Perez had been able to keep hold of an attempted interception ten metres from his own line he could have got clean away. He couldn’t hang-on and from there Bradford responded.

Right on the hooter Chisholm put in a clever kick for Miller to get in for the try, converted by Charnock.

Three minutes after the re-start it was really back to the drawing board, although Whitehaven were unlucky that the try stood. There appeared to be a blatant knock on by Lauaki, but referee Tom Crashley said it came off his knees and from there Miller was set-up for his hat-trick try.

Whitehaven were game and gritty but couldn’t prevent Bradford from clearing away from them with further tries from Williams, Kieran Moss and Kurt Haggerty. But there was some reward five minutes from time when the hard-working Dave Allen crashed over for Haven’s third try, converted by Jouffret.