Marshall: Error count the key to Fax's troubles in Cumbria
Halifax coach Richard Marshall was left to bemoan a spiralling error count after his side returned from their Championship date at Whitehaven with a single point after a dramatic 12-12 stalemate.
On a night when the visitors made more than 20 handling mistakes, only a last-play try from half back Gareth Moore and a nerveless, angled conversion from Steve Tyrer salvaged anything from a game Marshall clearly felt his side had needed to win.
“It’s a point lost, in terms of where we’re at and our season, but it could turn out to be very valuable if we can play a lot better than that over the next six or seven weeks,” said Marshall, whose side remain fourth on the league ladder after Featherstone lost 16-12 at Leigh Sunday.
“I’d be very disappointed if I was connected with Whitehaven; they were the better team for large parts of the game, particularly in the first half.
“I’m not sure we deserved anything from that, if I’m being honest, and I’m not sure it does us any favours, I think we needed to win.
“But it might turn out to be crucial, we’ll see.
“Gareth did well at the end and I wouldn’t like to have been in Steve’s shoes.
“There were some shenanigans going on when he was trying to take the kick and he did well to keep his cool.”
Fax started brightly, but trailed 6-0 at the break and then 12-0 early in the second half as James Coyle’s Haven belied their relatively modest league position.
“I thought we were a lot better second half, and we put ourselves in a position to win the game, but we just made too many errors,” said Marshall.
“We’ve probably made more errors in that game than we have in the last five put together.
“We have got to be better than that when we’re carrying the ball into contact; there are no excuses for that.
“I thought their pack outmuscled us at times, they really did.
“We were a lot better defensively in the second half.
“We played the majority of the game in their half through that defence, we really had some whack about us.”
As expected, Fax included their former player Simon Grix on the bench, the close season signing from Warrington playing his first game for almost two years after a leg fracture that threatened his career.
Grix was almost predictably rusty during a first spell in the back row, but looked a potentially dominant force - with and without the ball - after re-appearing at loose forward in the final quarter.
“Simon did a good job,” said Marshall.
“He was a bit apprehensive in his first stint, but he looked like a quality player in his second.
“I’ve plenty of praise for that young man.
“He came on at a critical time in that second half and looked good, looked strong.
“When he looks that good when he’s not played for two years, we’ve got something to work with.”