Saltonstall inspires Halifax Panthers to victory over Batley Bulldogs

Halifax Panthers have made a huge statement of intent in the race for third after four tries from James Saltonstall helped his side to a 34-18 victory over the Batley Bulldogs, writes Seb Sternik.
Halifax Panthers newsHalifax Panthers news
Halifax Panthers news

With a home play-off tie on the line, the battle to end the Championship season on the last podium place certainly heated up at the Shay.

Halifax piled on the pressure right from the get-go and they were handed an early breakthrough after Luke Hooley failed to deal with Joe Keyes’ last tackle bomb.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Adam Tangata and Will Calcott both came close to scoring, but it was Saltonstall who made the visitors pay for their first error by touching down in the corner.

Keyes successfully converted, but just seconds after the kicking tee was removed, Saltonstall was once again over the tryline.

The Italy international capitalised on clever build up play from Ben Kavanagh and Lachlan Walmsley.

Ultimately, it was Ed Barber who recorded the assist after releasing his teammate over the whitewash.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Keyes once again converted successfully to give his side a 12-point advantage after the same number of minutes.

Batley, who prior to kick off lost just one game from 11, began to find their feet and eventually, they found the Halifax tryline.

On this occasion, it was the Bulldogs who punished the Panthers for a flurry of errors in their own half.

Three Fax mistakes on the trot allowed the visitors regain possession and power across the line courtesy of Johnny Campbell. Tom Gilmore’s successful kick from the touchline brought the in-form visitors within six points.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Nevertheless, with the half-hour mark approaching, Saltonstall was on the rampage once more as he crossed for a sensational hat-trick effort.

The Panthers, who were looking to expose Batley’s fragile defence on the right side, found more success as James Woodburn-Hall unleashed his teammate for a memorable third try.

Halifax were on a roll and they quickly enhanced their advantage. Quick play of the ball from Ben Kavanagh left Batley players laying on the turf, allowing Halifax to shift the ball down the right and secure their fourth through Joe Arundel.

Halifax kicked off the second half in the same way they stared the first – with an early Saltonstall try.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The 28-year-old bagged his fourth effort in the 54th minute following a textbook delayed pass by Louis Jouffret. Another conversion by Keyes handed the hosts a 20-point lead.

Batley continued to battle and they did have some success with Campbell going over for his second

on the 60th minute mark.

Despite this, the night belonged to the Panthers who found the whitewash again through Calcott. The forward forced his way through Batley’s defence before rocking the Shay with a joyous celebration.

A frustrated Batley side imploded with two minutes remaining after Campbell backed up his brace with a red card for punching. Moments later, Saltonstall was sent to the bin following a professional foul.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hooley grabbed a late consolation try, though it was a case of too little too late for the Bulldogs.

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

Batley Bulldogs: Luke Hooley, Perry Whiteley, Joshua Hodson, Kieran Buchanan, Jonathan Campbell, Ben White, Tom Gilmore, Adam Gledhill, Ben Kaye, Martyn Reilly, Dane Manning, Lucas Walshaw, Nyle Flynn. Subs: James Meadows, Alistair Leak, Michael Ward, James Brown.