Fax are up and running at last

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Halifax 56

Dewsbury 24

THE important thing when you’re in a hole as deep as the one that Halifax have been inhabiting of late – five Championship starts, five losses and daylight rapidly receding - is that you get out of it.

It doesn’t matter how you get out of it, only that you do.

Which is why Matt Calland and his players would have taken this result with both hands before kick off.

A glut of tries, an injection of confidence and those all-important three league points.

There were still flaws aplenty, notably the inexplicable defensive collapse in the last five minutes when the Rams scored three tries back-to-back to give themselves a veneer of respectability they hardly deserved, but the be all and end all here was the result.

And in that regard Fax couldn’t really have asked for much more after the horrors of Thursday night’s loss at Widnes.

Nor could they have asked for a much more accomodating performance from their visitors, who belied their reputation as a team that gives nothing away by giving, well, everything away.

Warren Jowitt’s team could scarcely complete a set of tackles in the first half, and although they improved marginally after the break, the damage had already been done.

The Rams had been obliging from the start: former Fax half back Dominic Brambani sending the kick off out on the full and the visitors then leaving a yawning gap from the ensuing penalty for Sean Penkywicz to score from point blank range.

Graham Holroyd kicked the conversion for a 6-0 lead after less than a minute, before the contest settled down into mediocrity.

Fax looked by far the more dangerous team going forward, with Rob Worrincy and Penkywicz looking particularly threatening, although both sides were guilty of the most basic errors during an uneventful opening quarter.

The home side finally managed to turn the weight of possession into points just past quarter time, Holroyd hoisting a crossfield bomb onto the head of the Rams’ former Fax winger Andy Smith. He had already looked lost under a previous kick, and Worrincy pounced on the loose ball to score in the right hand corner.

The home side then went back-to-back, with Sam Barlow barging over in the left corner and Holroyd landing a super conversion off the sideline.

Dewsbury’s inferiority at that stage could be measured by the fact it was the 28th-minute by the time they actually carried the ball into Fax’s 20 metre area.

But while the home side survived that visit, there was something Widnes-esque about Dewsbury’s first try a little over five minutes later, Fax surrending the ball in their own 30 and Elliott Cosgrove charging through some awful defence to score by the posts.

Dominic Brambani kicked the conversion, and the home side looked even wobblier than they had done previously until Dylan Nash powered over in the same place as Barlow to calm the nerves, Holroyd landing a second kick from touch to make it 22-6.

The veteran stand off could not land a penalty from half way on the last play of the half, but even at that stage it looked like game over for the Rams.

Fax began the second half solidly, Holroyd being held up over the line by desperate defence, and they were over the try line by the 45th-minute, Penkywicz running on to a slick offload from Frank Watene to score by the posts.

Holroyd kicked the inevitable conversion to stretch the lead to 28-6, ending the game as a contest.

Holroyd then teed up Paul Smith with a neat little grubber kick and booted the conversion for a 34-6 advantage.

Fax had a rare piece of defensive work to do as threequarter time approached, Ayden Faal being hauled down by Miles Greenwood after a break down Fax’s right.

But when they got their hands on the ball they hammered home their advantage, Nash and Barlow both scoring twice as the scoreboard ticked over to a healthy looking 44-6.

Greenwood then scored a try that highlighted Dewsbury’s failings, any number of players being unable to clear a bobbling kick into the in goal and the full back pounced.

Barlow promptly completed his hat trick with five minutes remaining, before the Rams managed to take the gloss off the result with three back-to-back touchdowns from Scott Turner, Josh Tonks and Johnny Horton.

Yesterday, it didn’t matter.

But that didn’t make it any less alarming.