Halifax Panthers edge out Bradford Bulls to make it eight in a row
Halifax Panthers extended their winning run to eight games with a 24-21 Championship win over Bradford Bulls.
James Saltonstall dived in for the decisive try on 75 minutes, to secure victory for Halifax, who also saw touchdowns for James Woodburn-Hall, Greg Worthington and Liam Harris.
The Bulls’ tries came from Brandon Pickersgill, Doyle, Brad England and Joe Brown.
Fans were treated to a classic as the Panthers fought back from 20-14 down to secure a memorable Yorkshire derby win.
The Panthers drew early blood as they opened the scoring in the second minute. Brandon Moore broke down the middle of the park and unleashed James Woodburn-Hall who was running in-
support. The player touched down towards the left side of the sticks as Liam Harris added the extraswith a successful conversion.
It wasn’t long though before Bradford hit back. Consecutive penalties for high tackles saw Halifax retreat towards their own tryline. Brandon Pickersgill made them pay after scoring down the right and putting the Bulls on the board.
With quarter-of-an-hour gone, the Panthers scored their second. A loose ball from the Bulls was swept up by Ben Kavanagh who raced up the field. Greg Worthington was in support and duly delivered as he crossed the whitewash. The Panthers were now 10-4 up.
On the 23 rd minute mark, a pass meant for David Foggin-Johnston was intercepted by James Saltonstall who raced 50 metres before crashing over. Halifax were now leading 14-4.
The hosts looked in control and seemed sure to take their ten-point lead into the interval. Bradford though, had other ideas.
With less than two minutes remaining, Thomas Doyle spotted a gap from dummy half and duly delivered to close the gap. A successful kick from Sam Hallas meant Halifax only led by four points at the break.
After the restart, Bradford picked up exactly where they left off and scored again after just one minute.
John Kear’s side got a penalty on the halfway line and took full advantage as Anthony Walker powered up the field. Brad England, who was in-support, received the pass and dived over the whitewash as Hallas kicked again to move the Bulls two-points ahead.
That advantage grew in the 54 th minute when Joe Brown forced his way over in the corner. Bradford’s fourth effort of the game put the visitors 20-14 ahead.
The match then took another turn as Halifax began to make their comeback with 13 minutes to go. A kick from Harris on the last tackle saw Saltonstall and Foggin-Johnston jostle for the ball underneath. The ball found its way back to Harris who touched down underneath the sticks.
Bulls appealed for a knock-on from Saltonstall but referee deems the ball to have come off the Bradford man instead. The try was confirmed as Harris added two more points from the boot to
level the game.
With seven minutes left, Bradford eyed the one-pointer. As the Bulls edged towards the sticks, George Flanagan successfully bagged the drop goal.
Halifax though, were far from defeated.
In the 75th minute, Zack McComb made a breakthrough, evading countless tackles on his way up the field.
On the last tackle, the Panthers worked the ball out to the right. There were calls for a forward pass as Halifax powered on but the referee was not of the same opinion. Instead, Saltonstall crashed over in the corner to seal the two points and send the Shay into pandemonium
The victory keeps Halifax third in the Championship table and well on course for a play-off spot. Next weekend, Simon Grix and his side will welcome tenth-placed Newcastle Thunder.
Halifax Panthers: James Woodburn-Hall, Zack McComb, Greg Worthington, Ed Barber, James Saltonstall, Liam Harris,
Scott Grix, Jacob Fairbank, Ben Kavanagh, Matt Garside, Adam Tangata, Brandon Moore, Daniel
Murray, Curtis Davies, Elliot Morris, Kevin Larroyer, Connor Davies
Bradford Bulls: Brandon Pickersgill, Reece Hamlett, Rhys Evans, Ross Oakes, David Foggin-Johnston, Joe Brown,
Jordan Lilley, Steve Crossley, Thomas Doyle, Ant Walker, Aaron Murphy, Brad England, Sam Hallas,
George Flanagan, Jordan Baldwinson, Adam Rooks, Ebon Scurr
Referee: Aaron Moore