Whitehaven 19 Halifax Panthers 6: Fax still third despite three Betfred Championship losses in four
Halifax Panthers suffered their third defeat in four games as in-form Whitehaven continue their late push for a top six Betfred Championship finish.
The Panthers were beaten 19-6 away in Cumbria with Scott Grix scoring the only try for the visitors.
Fax remain in third place after Bradford and Batley also suffered defeats but a win over the Bulldogs next weekend is paramount if the side is to cement a home tie in the upcoming play-offs.
Simon Grix’s side made an encouraging start, threatening the Whitehaven defence in the early minutes. Saltonstall made a strong run as Fax worked the ball out wide to Ben Kavanagh. Unfortunately for the visitors, the forward couldn’t take the pass, allowing Whitehaven to go on the counter.
This time it was Whitehaven’s turn to work the ball out wide. A flurry of passes ended in the hands of Lauchlen Walmsley who dived over in the corner for the opening points. The player converted his own try to make it 6-0.
The response from Halifax was a positive one. Successive goal-line drop outs put the hosts firmly on the back foot as Scott Grix powered across the line.
After fending off his Whitehaven counterpart, the veteran dived over the whitewash to mark his 400th career appearance in style. Ed Barber added the extras to level the contest.
The Panthers were beginning to build momentum until a flurry of errors took the sting out of their attack. Instead, it was Whitehaven who went on the offensive.
With 20 minutes on the clock, the Cumbrian outfit regained their lead as Jason Mossop crossed the whitewash.
The Whitehaven man showed great strength as he spun away from Fax’s defence before getting over the line. Walmsley’s second conversion moved the hosts 12-6 ahead.
Gary Charlton’s side were quickly back on the offensive but failed to take advantage of a goal-line drop out just five minutes later. Nevertheless, they continued to push ahead – mainly down the right-hand side.
A few minutes before the break, Halifax enjoyed a bit more possession but their attacking efforts proved ineffective as they went into the interval 12-6 down.
Due to a medical emergency in the stands, the restart was postponed in order to give access to the ambulance crews.
Once the game resumed, it took ten minutes for the next try to land. Unfortunately for Simon Grix and his men, it was the hosts who extended their lead through Ryan King.
A high kick from Louis Jouffret was contested by Conor McGrath but he was unable to keep hold of it when he came back down. Instead, it was King who dived over the loose ball to the delight of the home crowd. Walmsley added two more points with his third conversion of the game.
In spite of their second-half efforts, Halifax couldn’t break down Whitehaven’s defence. The Cumbrian side didn’t concede a single point in the second period as they powered to a major win in their play-off bid.
A late drop-goal from Gregg McNally added salt to the wounds as Whitehaven confirmed their 19-6 victory.