Halifax Vandals 45 Knaresborough 5
Paul Knapping’s second stint in Vandals colours resulted in a return to winning ways for Matt Farrar’s side who showed little sign of any hangover from last week’s disappointment in a convincing Yorkshire Four success.
On an afternoon of free flowing rugby from the home side, it was Knaresborough who started the better with good field position, aided by Vandals indiscipline, presenting opportunities that were quickly defused following crunching tackles from Craig Sim and Liam Blue.
Knapping soon turned defence into attack with a high kick that forced the visiting winger into an error, man of the match Tom Crowther capitalising to race clear. His second followed almost immediately as he intercepted on halfway and again showed electric pace to beat several would be tackles.
Knapping was soon in on the action as he barged and then danced through the defence to score under the posts.
Backed by another bumper crowd at Warley, the home side secured a bonus point with a Jon Isherwood try in the corner following a quick penalty tap. This try, along with the previous three, was converted in style from the boot of Jim Crowther. Fine line out play from Sim them lead to the fifth try as Brett Swiffen deceived the defence to crash over for a 33-0 interval lead.
The second half started like the first with the visitors pressing, and despite some fantastic defence from Paul Jowett and Aarron Carrington Knaresborough were rewarded with a try out wide.
Vandals attacked at every opportunity but lacked the clinical edge of the first half following fine breaks from Luke Sutcliffe and Jim Crowther.
As frustration mounted Andy Fox put Dan Murgatroyd into space but he was denied close to the line. However, with the defence in tatters Farrar scored with ease before adding a second following a cut out pass from Knapping.
Despite the best efforts of Crowther to add to his tally, Vandals were unable to make it to the 50 mark. Nevertheless, Farrar and captain Andrew Murray were delighted at the final whistle.