Workington Town 6 Halifax Panthers 42: Panthers move up to tenth in Championship
Halifax Panthers returned to winning ways with a crushing 42-6 Betfred Championship victory at Workington Town.
Joe Keyes put on a man-of-the-match performance as Simon Grix’s side won their first competitive game since early February.
Despite playing away in Cumbria, the Panthers looked dominant from the outset as they moved up to tenth in the Championship table.
Halifax got off to a flying start and took the lead inside the opening five minutes. Louis Jouffret and Brandon Moore were the architects of the opener as they linked up well to release Ben Kavanagh. The second-rower spotted a gap and powered his way over. Keyes kicked the conversion.
Moments later, the Panthers were in again. A brilliant pass from Keyes to Joe Arundel allowed the centre to burst through a gap and release Jacob Fairbank who was running in support. The loose-forward couldn’t quite finish the move, but quick play from Fax allowed Kevin Larroyer to crash over on the next tackle. Keyes made it 12-0 with the boot.
Workington needed to stop the rot but, as soon as the hosts created a good attacking opportunity, Jordan Thomson dropped the ball and handed possession back to the Panthers.
Halifax were certainly not in the mood to waste opportunities and the visitors took full advantage as Dan Murray crossed the whitewash.
Workington began to ask questions of the Panthers, but a lack of a clinical edge in attack meant their chances came to nothing.
Halifax, on the other hand, were ruthless and moved further ahead in the 29th minute. Elliot Morris laid the platform for the next effort as his break allowed him to find Ed Barber with a short pass. The second rower crashed over and Keyes kicked his fourth consecutive conversion to make it 24-0 at the break.
Workington were intent on cutting their losses and even forced a goal-line drop-out in the early minutes of the second half. However, their inability to turn opportunities into points proved costly as Halifax responded.
With 50 minutes on the clock, Jouffret was able to release Adam Tangata who forced his way over the whitewash despite the best defensive efforts of Luke Broadbent. Keyes was once again on point with the kick as the visitors moved 30-0 up.
Just a few minutes later, the Panthers were in again with what was the try of the match. Brilliant footwork from McComb saw him race away from Workington’s defence. His pass found the hands of Jouffret who quickly shifted the ball to Ben Tibbs. The half-back had acres of space and secured his first try of the season.
Less than 60 seconds later, Halifax landed the knockout blow. A brilliant dummy from Keyes allowed him to burst up the field. The scrum-half outpaced Broadbent and crossed the whitewash to cap off a sensational performance. If that wasn’t enough, he maintained his 100 per cent conversion rate by moving the Panthers 42-0 ahead.
With 20 minutes still to go, the game lost some of its edge as both sides could sense the inevitable result. Despite this, Workington never stopped working and eventually their efforts were rewarded with a late try.
Alex Clegg was the scorer as he pounced on a Workington grubber kick to give the home fans something to cheer. Carl Forber added the extras with successful conversion.
But that was as good as it got for the hosts.
Workington Town: Luke Broadbent, Alex Young, Alex Clegg, Zac Olstrom, Curtis Teare, Jamie Doran, Carl Forber, Jordan Thomson, Evan Simons, Rhys Clarke, Perry Singleton, Conor Fitzsimmons, Marcus O’Brien. Subs: Matty Henson, Joe Brown, Ethan Bickerdike, John Hutchings.
Halifax Panthers: James Woodburn-Hall, Ben Tibbs, Joe Arundel, Zak McComb, James Saltonstall, Joe Keyes, Louis Jouffret, Kevin Larroyer, Brandon Moore, Dan Murray, Ben Kavanagh, Ed Barber, Jacob Fairbank. Subs: Kyle Wood, Titus Gwaze, Adam Tangata, Elliot Morris.
Match official: Ben Thaler.
Venue: Derwent Park, Workington.
Half-time: Workington Town 0-24 Halifax Panthers.