Super 8s Qualifiers: Fax pay price for slow start against Super League Vikings
Halifax are still looking for their first win in the Super 8s Qualifiers after Super League outfit Widnes won 36-12 at the Shay.
Richard Marshall’s side, who went into the game on the back of last week’s last-gasp loss at promotion chasing Hull KR, never really recovered from an indifferent start, which paved the way for the Vikings to build a decisive looking 18-0 interval lead.
Widnes stretched their advantage out to 26-0 with two quick fire Corey Thompson tries after the restart, before a Ben Heaton interception - the winger’s fifth in two games in the Qualifiers - got Fax on the scoreboard.
Heaton touched down again with 20 minutes remaining, taking Michael Sio’s flick on from a Steve Tyrer kick, with Tyrer’s conversion cutting the deficit to a tempting 26-12.
The home side ramped up the pressure on their visitors, who conservative estimates suggest spent at least £1.5 million this year compared to Fax’s budget of around £250,000, and finally gained some real momentum.
Loose forward Simon Grix was adjudged to have knocked on as he tried to force the ball down on the line, while left wing pair Steve Tyrer and Rob Worrincy both went close.
But with the Vikings defence holding out, the visitors gave the scoreline a flattering gloss with two tries in the final six minutes from half backs Joe Mellor and Danny Craven.
Fax had struggled to impose themselves on proceedings from the start, with a series of penalties and handling errors giving Widnes the initiative.
The Vikings took early advantage with a Chris Bridge try after eight minutes, converted by Lloyd White, but, despite a wealth of possession, they struggled to make further inroads until Bridge struck again, this time making a score for White just past the half hour, who converted.
If 12-0 was a challenging deficit, 18-0 look insurmountable from the moment Charly Runciman touched down after a loose pass from Heaton less than two minutes before the break.
Thompson’s brace in the early minutes of the second half gave Widnes some breathing space, which they were glad of as Fax came alive in the final quarter.
Halifax: Sharp; Heaton, Barber, Tyrer, Worrincy; Murrell, Johnston; Morris, Kaye, Fairbank, Grady, Cahalane, Grix. Subs: Woodburn-Hall, Sio, Moore, Douglas
Widnes: Hanbury; Marsh, Bridge, Runciman, Thompson; Craven, Mellor; Buchanan, White, Dudson, Houston, Whitley, Cahill. Subs: Manuokafoa, Chapelhow, Olbison, Johnstone
Referee: Gareth Hewer