HALIFAX’S caretaker coach Damian Ball believed his side were denied the chance of a draw by referee Jamie Leahy in the closing stages of yesterday’s 18-16 Co-operative Championship loss to Batley at Mount Pleasant.
There were four minutes of normal time remaining when Fax hooker Sean Penkywicz appeared to be pulled back as he moved into position behind the ruck, but, with the visitors 10 metres out and just to the left of the posts, the Dewsbury official waved play on, denying Danny Jones a simple two points.
“That should have been a penalty,” said Ball, whose side now have a four day turnaround before Thursday night’s clash with Widnes at the Shay.
“It’s difficult for the referee when you get an incident at that time, in that position, in a game of that intensity.
“The scoreline’s close and the officials are maybe a little apprehensive, but for me it was clear cut.
“That would have given us a draw at least.
“I’m not blaming the referee for us losing: We lacked composure at times and missed some opportunities.
“Against a team like Batley, who are tough and resilient and don’t give you many opportunities, you need to take your chances.
“We weren’t clinical enough in the right areas.
“There were a few silly offloads, and some silly plays coming out of our own half, and that made things hard for us.
“Against a team like Batley it’s about being in the arm wrestle, getting to the kick and being smart.
“If we had done that a little bit better, we might have got the result.
“We were giving penalties away on play four and five and giving them 40 or 50 metres at the end of the first half.
“We will have to see how results unfold now, but as things stand I think it was a must-win in terms of finishing fourth.”
Even so, Ball admitted to being encouraged by Fax’s approach, which saw them fightback up the Mount’s famous slope after trailing 18-6 early in the second half.
“There were a lot of encouraging signs there: our attitude, and particularly the way we approached the second half, was outstanding,” said Ball.
“We had a real dig and it was still on right until the last play of the game.
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