Halifax 12 Sheffield 54
Halifax crashed headlong out of the Co-operative Championship play offs with a horror display against Sheffield.
Karl Harrison’s Northern Rail Cup winners gifted their visitors a 16-0 lead early on with some distinctly average defence and never recovered before finally imploding in a dreadful second half.
Sheffield went ahead on seven minutes after Quentin Laulu-Togagae did the damage to put Misi Taulapapa over in the corner, Simon Brown adding the conversion from touch.
Fax compounded the damage by sending the kick off into touch, and a minute later Mitchell Stringer’s one-handed off load put Laulu-Togagae under the posts, Brown making it 12-0.
The home side had a walk-in chance when Ross Divorty romped clear, but Anthony Thackeray could not reel in what should have been a scoring pass.
And the Eagles made them pay when Laulu-Togagae scrambled over on the right.
Brown’s missed conversion limited the damage on the scoreboard to 16-0, and Fax went on to dominate territorially for the rest of the half.
But some poor decisions and fine defence on the Eagles goalline frustrated them at every turn, although Steve Tyrer would surely have scored on the half hour if he had run straight rather than cutting inside.
And with five minutes to go to the break, Rob Worrincy fumbled Brown’s cross kick and Scott Turner walked in at the corner.
Brown scuffed the kick, but promptly added a penalty on the stroke of half time to leave the Eagles on a lofty perch.
They should have soared clear in the opening minutes of the second period, but Fax twice denied them with desperate defence.
There was nothing they could do to stop Turner though, who scored his second on 49 minutes after a kick from Michael Knowles.
Fax finally broke their duck immediately after that, Paul Handforth sliding in after good work from Divorty, but Tyrer’s missed kick left them trailing 28-4 with half an hour remaining.
Any optimists entertaining thoughts of a comeback were left disapppointed soon after though, Knowles, Yere and Stringer all trundling in to open up a chasm on the scoreboard at 44-4 with a quarter of the game to go.
Penkywicz put Worrincy in with 13 minutes left, but Dominic Brambani and Yere stretched Sheffield’s tally past the half century before Ryan Fieldhouse scored at the death.
Prop Jim Gannon, playing the last game of an illustrious 15 year career, lined up the obligatory retirement conversion but could only send the ball skimming across the ground.
Halifax: Fieldhouse; Worrincy, Paterson, Tyrer, Reittie; Handforth, Thackeray; Ambler, Ashall, Aizue, Divorty, Heaton, Robinson. Subs: Casey, Penkywicz, Barlow, Gannon
Sheffield: Laulu-Togagae; Turner, Yere, Straugheir, Taulapapa; Brown, Brambani; Howieson, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Scott, Szostak. Subs: Davey, Green, Hirst, Higgins.
Referee: Jamie Leahy