Sharp scores twice as Fax edge home against Oldham

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Halifax secured a precious Championship win against Oldham at Stalybridge courtesy of a final quarter blitz that broke a 12-12 deadlock, the visitors eventually winning 30-12.

Richard Marshall’s side, who had thrashed Sheffield a week earlier, were far from their best, with a string of handling errors, particularly during a first period that was played almost exclusively in the Halifax half, gifting the Roughyeds a glut of possession.

But a determined defensive effort kept the home side at bay, with Fax heading into half time with an improbable 12-0 lead courtesy of some clinical finishing at the other end of the field.

Outstanding full back Will Sharp scored on his side’s first visit to the Oldham line after 26 minutes, storming onto Shane Grady’s pass after Simon Grix and Ben Johnston had put the back rower in space.

Steve Tyrer converted and was on target again five minutes before the break when his side’s third attacking set of the half yielded a second try, young prop Brandon Douglas bursting over from fellow front rower Ryan Boyle’s sharp pass.

If the visitors’ aim was to respect possession more in the second half they got off to a bad start, with more fumbles presenting Oldham with the platform from which Scott Turner scored their first try.

A second followed on 53 minutes from Michael Ward, with a conversion and a penalty from half back Scott Leatherbarrow levelling the scores with a quarter of the game remaining.

Oldham might have scored again but George Tyson’s pass to Leatherbarrow went forward, before Fax finally got their game together in impressive fashion, Sharp scoring his second after the Johnston and Grady combination ripped the defence to shreds again.

Tyrer kicked the visitors 18-12 ahead, then Simon Grix’s drive and Brandon Moore’s speed saw the hooker dart 20 metres to score under the posts, Tyrer making it 24-12.

A Tyrer penalty and a late try for another promising young forward, Elliot Morris, sealed a determined success.

Oldham: Lepori; Clay, Tyson, Wood, Turner; Leatherbarrow, Hewitt; Neal, Hughes, Burke, Adamson, Langtree. Subs: Ward, Dickinson, Owen, Davies

Halifax: Sharp; Worrincy, Tyrer, Woodburn-Hall, McGrath; Johnston, Murrell; Murray, Moore, Cahalane, Grady, Barber, Grix. Subs: Morris, Wilkinson, Boyle, Douglas

Referee: M. McMullen