Fax slaughter ‘Haven to keep pace in race for second spot

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Halifax kept pace in the race for second place in the Championship with a ruthless 52-12 demolition of Whitehaven at the Shay.

On a sultry afternoon when rivals Featherstone and Doncaster both won, Karl Harrison’s side were in rampant form, opening up a 34-0 half time lead against a visiting team still scrapping to dodge the fifth relegation place before finishing the job in the second period.

Centre Steve Tyrer, fresh from signing a new deal with the club that could keep him at the Shay until the end of 2017, notched 24 points from two tries and six conversions, while half backs Ben Johnston and Scott Murrell pulled the strings behind an utterly dominant pack performance.

The opening exchanges were hard fought, but once Fax cracked their visitors on 13 minutes, they quickly established a stranglehold which they maintained through to half time.

It was winger Tommy Saxton who opened the scoring, finishing strongly on the left after Johnston, Murrell, the excellent Ross Divorty and Tyrer had ripped the defence apart.

Tyrer added the extras and that Fax’s attacking threat down that side was a recurring theme.

In-form prop Luke Ambler backed up a rampaging Divorty on 18 minutes to score Fax’s second, Tyrer again converting, before Divorty charged over from Murrell’s pass.

Tyrer tagged on the extras and then soared high above the defence to claim Murrell’s kick, pushing the score out to 24-0 with the conversion.

Luke Adamson touched down straight from the kick off after Tyrer and Saxton had again dismantled the defence, Tyrer kicking another conversion and then touching down on the final play of the half to make it 34-0 at the break.

Any ideas of a Whitehaven comeback were quashed from the restart when Danny Cowling, recalled to the side along with Tyrer, picked up a loose ball and raced half the length of the field to score, Tyrer’s kick taking Fax to 40-0.

Haven came more into the game after that, with half backs Brett Seymour, the former Hull, New Zealand Warriors and Cronulla star, and Cain Southernwood showing their undoubted talent, before Murrell put Ambler through a gap and then backed up to take the scoring pass.

Ambler then charged in for a determined solo try and with Tyrer adding both conversions Fax had racked up 52 unanswered points.

Whitehaven then finally scraped enough possession for on loan Wigan centre Chris Taylor to score twice in the final minutes, Southernwood converting both.

Halifax: Potts; Fox, Cowling, Tyrer, Saxton; Murrell, Johnston; Tonks, Mennell, Ambler, Robinson, Divorty, Adamson. Subs: Holden, Casey, Spencer, Bracek

Whitehaven: Carr; Ainscough, Parker, Taylor, Calvert; Seymour, Southernwood; Jackson, Newton, Forster, McAvoy, Mitchell, Doran. Subs: Thorman, Walker, Robinson, Grayshon

Referee: W. Turley