Halifax maintain pressure at the top

Craig Heptonstall scored the final try
Craig Heptonstall scored the final try

Ossett 12 Halifax 25

Halifax maintained their position among Yorkshire Four’s leading lights with a hard-earned victory at Ossett.

Both teams had several players missing, but it was Halifax who settled best as they took the contest to Ossett in the first 10 minutes.

Determined forward play and some sharp handling from centres Jack Fairbank and Stephen Simpson saw both go close as did second rower Luke Sturman.

The breakthrough came when hooker Ian Morriss fielded a searching long kick from Ossett and found touch 30 metres upfield. The line out was won and the Halifax pack drove on with Tony Curtis credited with the score.

Halifax soon won another line out through the good work of Sturman; fly half Joe Gallagher put the ball up and two defenders failed to deal with the threat allowing Fairbank to hack on and score for a 10-0 lead.

Ossett picked up their game and prompted by their two skilled half backs, they launched good three quarter attacks from where their forwards rucked with effective intensity.

Ossett scored a good long range try down the right after good handling and in this period Halifax lost prop Sean Youell who took a knockout blow and took no further part in the game.

The referee had given cause for criticism from both sides and at the opening of the second half he yellow carded Mark Walton as a team sanction for dissent. Ossett promptly took advantage to take a ball against the head close in and backs threw the ball wide to score, the touchline conversion making it 12-10.

Ossett were over the line twice more only for their attempts to be disallowed – once through the decisive work of left wing Mark Heppenstall and the second where the joint strength of the Halifax forwards thwarted efforts to ground the ball .

Halifax regrouped and the pack drove some 20 metres down the left touch line and when an Ossett player was yellow carded Halifax routed their scrum.

Halifax demonstrated their capacity to run with the ball as the three quarter line combined to get right wing David Dodds away. He started from well inside his own half but took on several defenders to score a fine try which Gallagher converted.

Halifax now had their tails up and assisted by a second yellow card against an Ossett player, proceeded to dominate play.

Gallagher claimed a penalty goal and in the dying moments, when Ossett were offside at a ruck, the quick free kick was taken and with little room Curtis put Mark Heppenstall over in the left hand corner.