Fax move up to third after free-flowing success over Hornets

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Halifax moved up to third in the Championship, just three points shy of second place, with a 42-24 home win over Rochdale.

Karl Harrison’s side posted their biggest score for months against their near neighbours, with back rower Ross Divorty running in four tries as they made the most of defeats for top two rivals Featherstone and Doncaster.

On a scorching afternoon, Fax - playing with an attacking freedom they have lacked for most of the year - led 16-6 at half time, before a tit-for-tat second half saw them finally distance Hornets inside the last 10 minutes.

The home side made early breaks through Ben Johnston and Steve Tyrer, with Ryan Fieldhouse being pulled back for a forward pass from Tommy Saxton.

They finally took the lead 10 minutes in, the ever-dangerous Divorty capping a 70 metre move down the left involving Simon Brown, Tyrer, Saxton and Johnston.

Tyrer added the extras for a 6-0 lead and just short of the half hour Fax added a second score, which was a virtual carbon copy of the first.

Again, Brown fired the ball left, Tyrer sprinted clear, brought Saxton into play and the supporting Johnston slipped the scoring pass to Divorty.

Tyrer converted and Fax were in again from the kick off, Peter Fox bamboozling the defence inside his own half and Fieldhouse backing up on the inside to take the scoring pass.

Tyrer sliced the kick to leave the scores at 16-0 and just after the half hour Rochdale opened their account when Johnston fell off backrower Dave Llewellyn, who rumbled in to score, Paul Crook adding the extras.

Fax twice went close through Fox before half time, the winger having one try ruled out for a forward pass before Murrell’s last-play kick just bounced away from him at the last second.

Fax started the second half sluggishly, with Rochdale’s Ryan Sheridan cutting the gap to 16-12.

But the home side scored twice more through the excellent Luke Ambler, pushing the score out to 28-12.

Rochdale replied through Crook, before Divorty and Chris Baines traded tries to leave the score poised at 32-24 with 14 minutes remaining.

When Divorty scored a fourth though and Luke Adamson charged over, Fax were home and hosed.

Halifax: Fieldhouse; Fox, Tyrer, Heaton, Saxton; Brown, Johnston; Tonks, Kaye, Ambler, Adamson, Divorty, Bracek. Subs: Murrell, Mennell, Casey, Brooks

Rochdale: English; King, Davies, Littler, Robinson; Crook, Sheridan; Walker, Dandy, Thompson, Llewellyn, Jones, Suffolk. Subs: Cookson, Baines, McClurg, Tilley

Referee: Jamie Bloem