Halifax Panthers bash Bradford Bulls to return to winning ways

Halifax Panthers returned to winning ways, regained third position in the table and earned local bragging rights on a memorable evening at the Summer Bash, writes Seb Sternik.

By Mark Berry
Monday, 1st August 2022, 8:14 am
Updated Monday, 1st August 2022, 8:17 am

Zack McComb celebrated his recent contract extension by bagging an impressive brace which helped the Panthers to a 22-6 victory against an improved Bradford side.

The Bulls have been doing it tough in recent weeks and arrived at Headingley on the back of a four-match losing run.

Halifax, on the other hand, had their own point to prove after falling to a surprise loss away at London the week prior.

What’s more, with Batley Bulldogs picking up a comprehensive victory over Dewsbury in the second match of the Summer Bash, Fax knew that only a win would do if they were to go third in the standings.

The Panthers certainly didn’t waste time as they powered to a 10-0 lead inside the opening 17 minutes.

In-form Ben Tibbs was first to stamp his name on the scoresheet as Fax took full advantage of a Bradford penalty. Grix’s men were able to work the ball to Louis Jouffret who quickly unleashed Tibbs over the whitewash.

A few minutes later, Bradford’s Elliott Kear failed to deal with Jouffret’s last tackle bomb, which allowed Keyes to set up Jacob Fairbank for the team’s second try of the match. A successful conversion from Keyes moved the Panthers 10-0 ahead.

Bradford did have their own chances and Halifax’s defence was put to the test, though ultimately that test was passed as the Bulls were kept scoreless in the opening half.

However, one team that wasn’t done scoring was the Panthers as McComb capitalised on a Joe Burton error to get over the whitewash.

While the opening half may have been a tad drab, the second was certainly far from it.

The big moment of contention took place in the 55th minute as Joe Martin received a red card from match official Mike Smaill. The Premier Sports cameras showed that Martin was not the perpetrator, but in fact, the victim of a gouging incident.

Nevertheless, Halifax have amassed plenty of success when playing with fewer numbers, and that continued as moments after the incident, McComb scored his second try of the match.

On this occasion, the winger kicked, chased and collected the ball as he powered over the tryline to send the visiting fans into raptures.

Just three minutes later though, the celebrations were somewhat muted as Bradford scored their first points through Kieran Gill. The centre was able to get over from acting half to give the Bulls a small glimmer of hope.

Even though the Bulls had a man advantage and 15 minutes to play with, they were simply unable to mount a comeback during a scrappy end to the match.

Halifax have now won 14 of their last 16 games and have extended their winning run over Bradford to three straight matches.

What’s more, with four wins at the Bash, they are joint-most successful club in the event’s history.

Halifax Panthers: James Woodburn-Hall, Zack McComb, Greg Worthington, Benjamin Tibbs, James Saltonstall, Louis Jouffret, Joe Keyes, William Calcott Brandon, Moore, Dan Murray, Ben Kavanagh, Matt Garside, Jacob Fairbank. Subs: Kyle Wood, Elliot Morris, Joe Martin, Ed Barber.

Bradford Bulls: Elliott Kear, Matty Dawson-Jones, Rhys Evans, Kieran Gill, Ryan Millar, Joseph Burton, Dec Patton, Ben Evans, Thomas Doyle, Steve Crossley, Chester Butler, Brad England, Sam Hallas. Subs: George Flanagan, Jacob Gannon, Aaron Murphy, Anthony Walker.

Halifax Tries: Tibbs (7), Fairbank (17), McComb (39, 60). Halifax Goals: 3/4

Bradford Tries: Gill (63). Bradford Goal: Patton 1/1

Match Official: Mike Smaill

Venue: Headingley Stadium