Down to the wire

The season is still in the balance for Bradford Bulls after a mixed bag of results since my last entry here.

After the two highly entertaining draws against Leigh Centurions and Batley Bulldogs there followed an early, dramatic exit from the Challenge Cup at the hands of Dewsbury and eight wins from a possible 14 Championship games.

Not promotion form and they lie in fifth spot in the table with none of the remaining games against catchable teams, so a top four spot could ultimately be out of their hands.

That said, Halifax and Batley, the two teams who are just one point ahead, both have tough games left and all three have to play Featherstone Rovers who are also in the running.  ‘The Flat Cappers’ could have a big say in how things end up in the chase for the Super 8s and a chance to play Super League rugby next year, and it may even all come down to the last regular season game at the Provident Stadium between Bulls and Rovers!

Bulls’ results against the top two haven’t been too shabby.  At Summer Bash they were the better team in their second game of three against Leigh this season but lost in the dying seconds, and they have already defeated second place London Broncos.

All the more baffling why their fate in 2016 is still on a knife edge!

A change at the top

Bulls legend James Lowes, who started the season as head coach, stepped down in April due to personal reasons.  Cue the search for a successor and he came from a well-known rugby league family.

Australian Rohan Smith, appointed in May on a three-year deal, is the son of Brian who held the same role in the mid-nineties.  He is also the nephew of current Warrington Wolves head coach, Tony Smith, and with his NRL coaching experience should have a good network of contacts to help find talent for the Provident Stadium outfit, with fullback Kieran Moss and halfback Dane Chisholm already following him to the club from the NRL.

New match day hub

As well as all of our usual sponsorship activities for fans, including our annual Bulls Bus fans’ trip to Blackpool for the Summer Bash of rugby league, we have been busy looking at new ways of supporting supporters.

The Provident Stadium seems to have its own unique climate!!  Even in the depths of summer it can feel a bit chillier than elsewhere in Bradford, probably due to the bowl effect of the stadium.  Add to that the expanses of open terracing which expose supporters to the elements.

We have given out our very own Provident wet weather ponchos during wet games in the past but some respite from bad weather is nice to have during pre-game and at half time.  Somewhere to go and have a hot drink or a pint, sit down and read the match day ‘Bull’etin.

marquee 2

So, we’ve given the stadium marquee a make-over and in partnership with the Club made sure there is plenty to keep supporters entertained when there’s no action on the pitch.  Fun and games in the Provident Skills Zone, player appearances and live music are all features of the Provident Marquee and Bar.

Supporting the local community

Thinking about the wider community and how to help the club encourage new or lapsed fans to attend games, we came up with the Provident Community Tickets Scheme.

Working closely with the Bradford Bulls Foundation we’ve given away ticket vouchers to local schools, community groups and charities to use for home games.  The response has been fantastic with 100s of potential new fans enjoying matches from their seats in the Provident Stand.

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