Harrison: We took derby spoils at a canter

Sean Penkywicz
Sean Penkywicz
Have your say

Halifax boss Karl Harrison was content after watching his side win Sunday’s Co-operative Championship derby at Keighley “at a canter”.

The visitors triumphed 30-16 to maintain their one-point lead at the top of the league ladder, brushing the sixth-placed Cougars aside with a dominant second half performance.

“That was probably more convincing than the scoreline suggests,” said Harrison, whose side led 24-4 and 30-8 before a brace of late Richie Barnett touchdowns gave Keighley a veneer of respectability on the scoreboard.

“The tries they scored in the second half were poor, down to a lack of concentration, but overall, I thought we played pretty smart and pretty good without ever really hitting top straps.

“We’re still developing as a team, and there’s a long way to go with that, but we’ve certainly got something when we switch on.

“We changed the gameplan again for this game, we had four middle unit players on the bench and kept it tight in the middle field, working Shickell and Korkidas over and making good metres.

“We got a little bit excited off the back of that in the first half and tried going to the flanks where there was nothing on.

“But we made some adjustments at half time and you saw the results.

“Overall, we won at a canter.”

Full back Ryan Fieldhouse led the scoring with two tries in three minutes after the break, but Harrison - who cut his coaching teeth with the Cougars a decade ago - was particularly pleased with the form of playmaking trio Paul Handforth, Anthony Thackeray and Sean Penkywicz, who defied hamstring problems to play.

“I thought Handforth and Thackeray are going okay and it was a boost having Penkywicz out there because he does give us a special spark,” said Harrison.

“We like the dry conditions and fast fields; it’s unfortunate that this year they don’t seem to be giving penalties for holding down.”

Halifax’s under 18s won 36-30 at Oldham, despite the absence of seven first choice players.

Dom Booth (2), Connor Clayton, Dom Patrice, Connor Farnell and George Hulme all scored tries, with Clayton kicking six goals as the visitors kicked on from a 16-12 half time lead at the Whitebank Stadium.