Halifax Vandals made the best possible start to their Yorkshire Four campaign under new coach Matt Farrer as they marked their first ever league encounter against Halifax RUFC with an 18-15 win.
Halifax started the better and applied pressure against the slope to force a number of lineouts on the Vandals line. However, they were thwarted by the impressive defending of Craig Sim and Danny Mitchell while timely breaks from Dan Murgatroyd and Luke Sutcliffe relieved the pressure.
The breakthough finally arrived after a tense first 20 minutes when a quick lineout on halfway found Murgatroyd who placed an inch perfect kick into the corner. Pressure from the resulting lineout led to a mistake by Halifax and Dan Friend pounced to crash over in the corner and give his side a narrow 5-0 interval lead.
Indiscipline proved a problem for Vandals and Halifax took advantage after the break with Toby Turner making it 5-3 with a penalty.
This seemed to inspire the Vandals as they produced some of their best rugby of the afternoon. Clever kicks by Matt Farrar and Jim Crowther gave the home side good field position and the territorial advantage proved crucial as the home side scored two tries in a productive 10 minute spell.
First of all Farrar found Tom Crowther with a cut out pass that put the winger in for a neat finish. Following three points from the boot of Jim Crowther, the pair were at it again down the same side where Farrar’s inside pass to Crowther saw him held up on the line only for for man of the match Friend to crash over for his second of the game.
Halifax refused to give in and started to take advantage of the slope with Nick O’Connor pulling the strings. The pressure soon told as the visitors scored two tries of their own with Turner adding a conversion to set up a tense finale.
However, despite continued Halifax pressure, Vandals held on to secure a thrilling and deserved victory.