Halifax show their teeth to beat leaders and aid promotion bid

Halifax 21

Leeds Medics & Dentists 15

HALIFAX again gave their Division Four promotion chances a massive boost with a well-deserved victory over fellow challengers.

Leeds Medics arrived as a free scoring side topping the division by some margin but whom Halifax had beaten earlier in the season.

The visitors presented a stiffer challenge this time and soon showed that they were prepared to throw the ball about and to initiate that from deep in their own half .

Halifax also soon showed their intentions to dominate up front which they did, apart from an inability to match the Medics skill in wheeling the scrum, thereby forcing their own feed.

It was a scrum that produced the opening score as No. 8 Sturman picked up at the base to link with scrum half Mark Walton. Paul Knapping was then on hand to give a perfect pass to wingman Ben Maxwell who had a clear run to the line.

Any threat from the Leeds backs was snuffed out by some stern tackling while Ian Morris put in some strong direct drives, well supported by his colleagues.

Caswell put in a grubber kick which caused consternation for Leeds but it was just too far for Maxwell on the wing.

Leeds began to win more ball and pushed Halifax back into their own half to good effect.

Concerted pressure was applied and three rucks were won to the right and as the defence thinned on the left, Leeds were presented with an easy converted try.

Halifax were immediately on the back foot from the restart as they found themselves stretched several times, notably when the Leeds left wing was forced into touch on the corner flag before half-time.

Halifax immediately renewed their strong defence in the second half and the Leeds backs took some heavy hits in midfield .

The home backs preferred to kick for position and chase and catch the opposition in possession. The pick and drive tactics gave the visitors problems and it was clearly the weapon of choice.

Caswell produced a 60 metre kick to force an attacking line out 15 metres out on the left and in the ensuing play Sturman went over but it was adjudged that the ball had not been grounded.

Halifax regrouped and Toby Turner converted a penalty after which the Leeds scrum half, helped by some lax tackling, broke from well inside his own half and his supporting colleague was left with a clear run in over the last 40 metres .

The prompt response by Halifax was the best move of the day as Caswell, after strong play by Morris, chipped the ball high to the right.

Centres Turner and Paddy Ryan were on hand to harry the defence and Ryan emerged with the ball to go in from 20 metres out, Turner’s conversion putting the teams on level terms again with 25 minutes to play .

Halifax took up residence in the opposition half and captain Tony Curtis showed his power on several occasionsbefore the match winning moment arrived.

Halifax won a scrum on the Leeds 22. Knapping at fly half steadied himself and nudged Halifax into the lead with his drop goal.

Leeds, to their credit, continued to try to make progress through their three quarters but the Halifax tackling held firm.

The visitors offended as they struggled for possession and Halifax, using the long favoured tactic of keeping the ball, played out time but not before Turner had put the icing on the cake with a final penalty.