Halifax Panthers thump York City Knights to go third

Halifax Panthers put on one of the performances of the Betfred Championship season as they powered past play-off rivals York in a crucial clash at the Shay, writes Seb Sternik.
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Simon Grix’s men put on a show in front of the Premier Sports cameras as they scored six tries to seal the 36-10 win – a result that sees the Panthers leapfrog their opponents into third in the table.

Halifax now trail second-placed Featherstone by five points and head into their home clash against Workington with insatiable momentum.

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York produced the first moment of dangers as former Fax man Liam Harris broke down the right and unleashed a threatening kick into the in-goal area. Ultimately, the kick had a tad too much power and rolled out of play.

Halifax Panthers are now third in the Betfred Championship table. Pic: Simon HallHalifax Panthers are now third in the Betfred Championship table. Pic: Simon Hall
Halifax Panthers are now third in the Betfred Championship table. Pic: Simon Hall

Just one minute later though, the hosts responded in style as Lachlan Walmsley capitalised on a well worked move to touch down in the corner. The Scotland international was assisted by James Woodburn-Hall who took on the line with pace and released his teammate.

Moments later, the hosts were at it again. Louis Jouffret, who recently signed a new contract with the club, delayed his pass to perfection as Matty Gee powered through a gap in the York defence before unleashing Dan Murray over the tryline.

Halifax had to switch their attention from attack to defence after conceding a seven-tackle set, but thanks to some outstanding work off the ball, they kept the visitors scoreless.

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York persisted but in the 23rd minute, they were caught out by a deadly Fax counter-attack. A kick on the last by the Knights was scooped up by Woodburn-Hall who raced over 90 metres before unselfishly passing to Ben Tibbs. The 21-year-old touched down for Fax’s third of the match.

All three tries were successfully converted by Joe Keyes who helped his side into an 18-0 lead. York needed a response and on the half-hour mark, they got it through Chris Clarkson. The former Castleford Tigers man capitalised on a kick from Brendan O’Hagan to score.

The remaining 10 minutes of the opening half belonged to York as they strung together continuous attacks. But despite the onslaught, the home side showed incredible resilience to keep the door shut.

Fax’s defensive efforts culminated with a heroic tackle from Walmsley who appeared to lose his battle with Joseph Brown on the right, only to bring his counterpart down inches away from the whitewash.

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It doesn’t happen often but the hosts received a rousing standing ovation from the crowd as both teams made their way to the sheds.

Panthers have gained a reputation this season for turning on the style in the second half. However, with the ground work already laid, the hosts went about finishing the job without too many dramas.

Fax were helped in the 54th minute, when Keyes created and scored his team’s fourth try of the game. A last tackle bomb from the scrum-half was dropped by Harris following pressure from Walmsley. Keyes then picked up the loose ball and powered over the tryline.

As the clock ticked down, York were running out of ideas, and easy errors soon crept into their game. After failing to find the touch with a penalty, Halifax took over possession, powered up the field, and found another score through Jouffret.

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With seven minutes remaining, a converted try from York’s Will Jubb helped to close the gap.

However, Panthers soon regained their advantage as Keyes converted a late penalty before Walmsley scored his second of the game to round off a scintillating victory.

Halifax Panthers: James Woodburn-Hall, Lachlan Walmsley, Ben Tibbs, Joe Arundel, James Saltonstall, Louis Jouffret, Joe Keyes, Will Calcott, Brandon Moore, Dan Murray, Ben Kavanagh, Matty Gee, Adam Tangata. Subs: Jacob Fairbank, Kyle Wood, Kevin Larroyer, Ed Barber.

York City Knights: Liam Harris, Joseph Brown, James Glover, Levi Edwards, Alwyn Towse, Brendan O’Hagan, Jamie Ellis, Masi Matongo, Will Jubb, Nouata Pauli, Chris Clarkson, Daniel Kirmond, Jordan Thompson. Subs: Jack Teanby, Myles Harrison, Ronan Michael, Bailey Antrobus.

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Halifax Tries: Lachlan Walmsley (11, 79), Dan Murray (16), Ben Tibbs (23), Joe Keyes (54), Louis Jouffret (67). Halifax Goals: Joe Keyes 6/7.

York Tries: Chris Clarkson (31), Will Jubb (74). York Goals: Jamie Ellis 0/1, Liam Harris 1/1.

Match Official: Aaron Moore

Attendance: 1,621