Fax open up six point gap over Batley with big Shay win

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Halifax opened up a six point gap over Batley in the race for a top four Championship finish with a convincing 40-22 win at the Shay.

Richard Marshall’s side, who have now won their last six games, were dominant for long spells against Matt Diskin’s visitors, who face a real challenge if they are to replicate last season’s exploits in the Super 8s Qualifiers.

The home side were in front inside four minutes, centre James Woodburn-Hall making a classic centre’s break down the right and putting James Saltonstall over in the corner.

Steve Tyrer’s conversion sailed wide, but Halifax should have scored on the next set, Tyrer and Connor Robinson putting Rob Worrincy into open space 10 metres out, only to see the winger spill the pass.

Batley made the most of their reprieve, scoring immediately through a charging Danny Cowling, Cain Southernwood’s missed kick leaving the scores locked at 4-4.

Halifax then enjoyed a spell of dominance, scoring twice through full back Will Sharp and captain Scott Murrell, Tyrer missing one kick from in front but nailing the second for a 14-4 lead.

The Bulldogs clawed their way back into the game just past the half hour, winger Jy Hitchcox touching down after Worrincy had tried, and failed, to intercept the pass, Southernwood converting from the sideline.

But the home side got the half time margin their performance arguably merited when Worrincy rampaged clear down the middle and Shane Grady slid a kick in behind the line for Tyrer to score.

The centre’s sideline conversion left Halifax 20-10 up and they scored again five minutes after the break, hooker Brandon Moore storming in after Grady demolished the defence.

Woodburn-Hall touched down from Murrell’s short pass, Tyrer putting Halifax 32-10 ahead with half an hour remaining.

Batley rallied, scoring a try through Alex Rowe and pounding the Halifax line for long spells, but with 10 minutes remaining Saltonstall picked off a long ball on his own line and raced the length of the field to score.

The visitors scored again through hooker Alistair Leek, Dominic Brambani converting, but it was far too little, too late, point underlined by Will Sharp’s last-play touchdown.

Halifax: Sharp; Saltonstall, Woodburn-Hall, Tyrer, Worrincy; Murrell, Robinson; Boyle, Kaye, Cahalane, Grady, Tangata, Fairbank. Subs: Barber, Moore, Morris, Reilly

Batley: Scott; Hitchcox, Smeaton, Cowling, Hallett; Southernwood, Brambani; Gledhill, Leak, Rowe, Day, Farrell, Manning. Subs: Lillycrop, Bretherton, Brown, Holmes

Referee: Jack Smith