Patience and possession pay off for Halifax

Halifax 32 Knaresborough 22

Halifax proved the value of patience and the ability to retain possession as they overcame a slow start to pick up a valuable Yorkshire Four success.

They did not get off to the best of starts as, in a repeat of the previous week, the visitors profited from a dropped ball to score in the corner.

Knaresborough used their forward power to significant effect in the first 15 minutes as Halifax were driven back and their backs starved of ball. However, when the hosts did achieve some reasonable possession it was equally clear that the home three quarters were superior and Halifax showed some excellent touches, moving the ball through many hands with precision and confidence.

The opening score came in the 13th minute when Knaresborough handled in the ruck, Nicky Bell duly obliging with the penalty.

Halifax’s first try came two minutes later when, from a turnover, powerful centre Ben Maxwell punched a hole in the defence and skipper Tony Curtis picked up before passing to Bell who put winger John Robertson over.

Halifax continued to enjoy good fortune as first an offside award against them in front of the posts was fluffed and shortly after a mishandle would have led to a try had it not been for a forward pass.

Halifax then enjoyed a purple patch midway through the half with two converted tries. Back rower Craig Heppinstall gained possession on the home left touchline and raced on before selling an outrageous dummy to the full back before scampering over for Bell to convert with ease.

Three minutes later fly half Gallagher broke well down the left. Halifax won the recycled ball enabling centre Steven Simpson to put Robertson over for his second converted try.

However, Knaresborough struck back on the stroke of half-time following handling and communication errors on the Halifax left.

Toby Turner was next on the scoresheet after the break, again the result of some excellent handling down the three quarter line, with Maxwell playing the strong role in midfield.

By this stage the Halifax backs had gained confidence and there was sufficient possession for them to show their skill. Gallagher, with his long pass, was influencing play and it was this device which enabled Bell to chip into the right hand corner.

Robertson was quick to skilfully intercept the ball in the corner and turn it infield with his foot over the try line for Bell to make the touchdown.

Halifax were in command at 32-10 and they began to ring the changes. Inevitably some focus was lost and Knaresborough won two lineouts close in on the Halifax left and on each occasion their forward strength enabled them to drive over, but it was not enough to deny the home side the victory.