Halifax RUFC trophy success

Luke Sturman (centre) was a key man for Halifax
Luke Sturman (centre) was a key man for Halifax

Halifax finished their season on a high with a 22-7 home victory over Otley seconds in the Aire/Wharfe Plate final at Ovenden Park.

Forward domination was the key to success for Halifax against a club they have faced many times at a higher level in the past.

In damp conditions, Otley had no answer to their hosts’ lineout supremacy in which Luke Sturman played a leading part, and driven mauls.

The Halifax three quarters started impressively, throwing the ball wide and stretching their opponents’ defence but over-complication or last pass errors prevented a score.

Otley’s backs also showed speed and flair but their handling was suspect and the kicking was loose.

The visitors took the lead against the run of play on 20 minutes. They chipped over the Halifax defence and when the ball was not controlled, Otley capitalised on the mistake with a converted try.

Halifax were dominating possession and went close several times before opening their account just before half time.

With an Otley player in the sin-bin, the Halifax pack stormed over and Tony Curtis was awarded the try.

The second half started brightly for Halifax, who quickly established a position well inside the visitors half.

They won a scrum and from Curtis’s pick up at No 8, play was switched to the open side. Craig Hetherington delivered a smart short pass to centre Ben Maxwell, who went through a gap to score from 30 metres out.

The pattern continued with Halifax in control up front and handling better than their opponents.

After 65 minutes Mark Walton combined with Hetherington and Maxwell had the power to drive over, making it 15-7.

Halifax camped on the Otley line. Their fly half was tackled over the line and a ruck developed, a defensive fumble leading to the burrowing Elliot Mercer scoring and Hetherington converting.