Halifax recovered from their Challenge Cup loss at Featherstone by beating Rochdale Hornets 28-2 in a scrappy encounter at the Shay.
Richard Marshall’s side, who face top four rivals Toulouse and London in the next two rounds, were dominant in defence but distinctly unconvincing in attack against a Hornets side who finished an even more distant second best than the scoreboard suggested.
Ironically, Rochdale had taken an early lead, with half back Danny Yates kicking a penalty after referee Gareth Hewer had marched Fax downfield.
But the home side hit the front on 16 minutes when half back Ben Johnston found Shane Grady cutting back against the defence and the back rower broke the line before returning the favour with a scoring pass.
Steve Tyrer converted and was lining up another - albeit unsuccessful - attempt five minutes later when Johnston again found Grady, who flicked the pass outside this time for Tyrer to touchdown in the corner.
That set Fax up with a 10-2 lead after 21 minutes and they should probably have extended it before half time, notably when Grady carved open the defence again but couldn’t find the right pass to his support players.
As it was, the teams went to the break at 10-2, with Hornets reduced to 12 men after full back Chris Riley was sin binned for holding down the dangerous Grady.
The home side continued to dominate after the interval, scoring their third try when Ed Barber slipped a pass out of a three man tackle and Will Sharp scored from point blank range, Tyrer converting.
And they were in again on 55 minutes, Scott Murrell scuttling clear down the right and Adam Tangata collecting the scoring pass.
Tyrer’s kick opened up a decisive 22-2 lead, but Fax never really managed to hammer home their clear advantage, although Rochdale’s inability to make the slightest dent in their defensive line will have pleased Marshall.
They finally added to their tally in the closing minutes, Tyrer skipping clear and putting Simon Grix over before tapping over the conversion.
Halifax: Sharp; Heaton, Tyrer, James Woodburn-Hall, Worrincy; Murrell, Robinson; Cahalane, Moore, Murray, Grady, Grix, Fairbank. Subs: Morris, Boyle, Barber, Tangata.
Rochdale: Riley; Penny, Holmes, Galbraith, Massam; Palfrey, Yates; Tahrauoui, Maneely, Hand, Smith, Crowley, Middlehurst. Subs: Greenwood, Moran, Hadden, Case
Referee: G. Hewer