First half tries are enough for determined Fax

Wayne Reittie
Wayne Reittie

Halifax’s unbeaten pre-season continued with a 10-4 over Batley at a freezing Mount Pleasant.

Karl Harrison’s side, who drew 30-30 with Super League outfit Castleford on Boxing Day, scored all their points against last season’s beaten Championship Grand Finalists before the break, playing up the ground’s famous slope.

And although their second half performance was more disjointed than their coach might have wished, a determined defensive stint meant John Kear’s Bulldogs never really created a clear cut chance after the break.

For Fax, who rested a clutch of probably first choice starters, the former Wakefield centre Danny Cowling made a useful debut, while there were second half cameos for young backs Joe Martin and Josh Casey.

Martin, a Siddal junior whose professional progress has been slowed by a broken ankle, looked competent at full back in the final half hour while Casey, the former Bradford Academy centre, hinted at his potential on the wing.

On a pitch made sticky by weeks of wet weather, both sides had played conservatively early on and it took until the 22nd minute for the deadlock to be broken when winger Wayne Reittie slid over in the corner after taking a lofted pass from Ryan Fieldhouse.

Steve Tyrer missed the conversion, but a monstrous 40/20 from Simon Brown in the next set of possession created the position for the stand off to kick towards the corner, where Tyrer pounced for his side’s second try.

With the conversion, Fax led 10-0 before finally conceding a try almost on the stroke of half time to the Batley centre Alex Bretherton.

Batley enjoyed the best of the opening second half exchanges, despite losing replacement forward Jay Leary to the sin bin for a late challenge on Brown, but it was Fax who created the only clear chance of the half, Reittie being adjudged to have knocked on as he dived on Tyrer’s kick ahead.

Batley: Greenwood; Campbell, Paterson, Bretherton, Finigan; Black, Leek; Rowe, Nicholson, Gledhill, Scott, Chandler, Applegarth. Subs: Smith, Brennan, L. Blake, A. Blake, Leary, Leatherbarrow

Halifax: Fieldhouse; Reittie, Tyrer, Cowling, Ward; Brown, Mennell; Ambler, Kaye, Bracek, C. Casey, Adamson, Murrell. Subs: Brooks, Manning, Davies, Divorty, Martin, Fairbank, J. Casey

Referee: Jamie Bloem