Fax crash on opening day as Gelling proves the difference

Halifax started their Championship season with a 40-16 defeat at Widnes as Richard Marshall’s were undone by the class of Cook Islands centre Anthony Gelling.

The former Wigan player, who won a Grand Final with the Warriors, justified Widnes’ investment in his talents with two tries and an assist, while the man outside him, Ryan Ince, helped himself to a hat trick.

Ultimately, Fax left themselves too much to do after being prised open three times in the opening quarter as Keiron Purtill’s full time side established a 16-0 lead.

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Marshall’s side battled back to 16-10, but three tries either side of the break left them hopelessly adrift at 34-10.

The visitors’ early nightmare began just four minutes in, Danny Craven kicking high and QLT making one error by allowing it to bounce, then a second by trying to shepherd the ball dead, allowing Jack Owens to nip and claim a gift of a score.

Owens converted and Widnes doubled their lead four minutes later, dangerman Gelling apparently wrapped up on the right, only to free and arm and reach out to score.

Owens’ conversion doubled the lead to 12-0 and with the penalties flowing - Jacob Fairbank conceding three on his own inside the opening quarter - the stage was set for Gelling to produce a gem of a flick pass for Ince to score in the corner.

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Owens’ kick drifted wide, but at 16-0 Fax needed a few moments to regroup and regain their composure.

They did so brilliantly, the impressive Simon Grix and Scott Murrell shifting the ball wide and QLT firing a great pass for a flying Will Sharp to score in the corner.

Steve Tyrer’s conversion attempt went wide, but with the visitors finally finding some momentum it was no surprise when Ben White chipped wide and Tyrer soared above the defence to claim the ball and touch down.

Tyrer converted and at 16-10 Fax looked to be getting on top on the field, only for a late penalty, which Widnes chose to run, paving the way for a fine solo try from Craven on the last play of the half.

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Owens stretched Widnes’ lead to 22-10, leaving the visitors in a position where they probably needed to score first after the restart.

They didn’t; Craven’s kicking game set up the position for Ince to score - Gelling’s dummy run sucking the defence hopelessly infield - and then Gelling scored himself straight from a scrum.

Owens converted both for a 34-10 lead that ended the game as a contest

Fax then lost Brandon Moore to the sin bin with half an hour to go, Kevin Larroyer to a yellow card with 10 minutes left and saw Ince complete his hat trick, Owens’ conversion bringing up a 40-10 lead.

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The 12-men gained some consolation when QLT stormed clear from Grix’s pass and put Ben Kavanagh over by the posts, Tyrer’s conversion cutting the final deficit to 42-16.

Widnes: Owens; Ashall-Bott, Brand, Gelling, Ince; Craven, Lyons; Tangata, Hood, Hansen, Wilde, Dean, Leuluai. Subs: Chapelhow, Johnstone, Farnworth, Walker

Halifax: QLT; Sharp, Tyrer, Woodburn-Hall, Robinson; Murrell, White; Fairbank, Kaye, Kavanagh, Larroyer, Barber, Grix. Subs: Fleming, Cooper, Moore, Calcott

Referee: Scott Mikalauskas

Attendance: 4,283