Fax lose again, but boost confidence with second half revival

Halifax endured another losing afternoon in the Super 8s Qualifiers as they finished on the wrong end of a 38-24 scoreline at Hull KR.

Tim Sheens’ side had carved out what looked like a match winning 24-0 interval lead, reducing Richard Marshall’s visitors to damage limitation before the end of the first quarter.

But Fax were a team transformed after the break, turning what threatened to be a drubbing into something approaching a confidence booster ahead of Saturday’s trip to Widnes.

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The visitors were in deep trouble from the start, with a white-hot Rovers attack cutting through a defence that still looked understandably frail after last week’s 62-4 thrashing by Salford.

Rovers winger Craig Hall scored the first of his four first half tries after seven minutes as Rovers half back Danny McGuire consistently and methodically exposed Fax’s left flank.

And by the 20th minute, when KR led 20-0 after Hall had completed his hat trick and James Greenwood had added fourth, a genuine cricket score loomed.

It was to Fax’s credit that they arrested the slide, with Hall scoring once more before the break, although they were indebted to some below-average kicking from Rovers pair Craig Hall and Danny Tickle, who found the target only twice between them, for keeping the scoreline down.

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Whatever Marshall said to his players at half time clearly resonated, with the visitors emerging with the focus and energy they’d been lacking.

They scored early, only their third try in the Qualifiers, when James Salstonstall stretched over in the corner and Shane Grady converted from touch to cut the deficit to 24-6.

Fax’s third quarter resurgence, with and without the ball, was enough to prompt Rovers to allow Hall to kick for goal from a 62nd minute penalty, extending their advantage to 26-6.

And soon after, when Saltonstall scored his second try from a Chester Butler offload and prop Dan Fleming kicked a remarkable conversion from the sideline, Rovers looked briefly unsettled at 26-12.

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They restored calm with an untidy try from Chris Atkin, Hall converting, opening the gap again at 32-12.

A late try from Shaun Lunt then put Rovers 38-12 up, but tries from Dan Fleming and Will Sharp, both converted by the front rower, left Fax with respectability at 38-24.

Hull KR: Quinlan; Hall, Salter, Blair, J. Carney; McGuire, Atkin; Masoe, Lunt, Tickle, Greenwood, Tomkins, Clarkson. Subs: Vaivai, Kavanagh, Jewitt, T. Carney

Halifax: Woodburn-Hall; Saltonstall, Heaton, Butler, Sharp; Murrell, Johnston; Fleming, Kaye, Jones, Tangata, Grady, Fairbank. Subs: Moore, Cooper, Maher, Davies

Referee: M Griffiths