Championship: Fax off the mark after Murray tries seal win over Sheffield Eagles

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Halifax opened their Championship account at the second attempt with a convincing 30-10 win over Sheffield at the Shay.

In a contest marked by a lengthy blizzard either side of half time, Richard Marshall’s side were indebted to two-try prop Daniel Murray, who was the dominant figure on his second debut for the club.

The Salford front rower, who played for Fax on dual registration last season and returned on a month’s loan on Thursday, bookended a solid team performance with tries in the second and 73rd minutes.

With strong support from reshuffled line up from the one that lost last weekend’s opener at Featherstone - with half back James Woodburn-Hall and centre Ed Barber particularly impressive - the home side’s victory was never really in doubt against a Sheffield team for whom only the half back Cory Aston showed any spark.

Fax had taken the lead when Murray barged his way over for a scrappy opening try, centre Steve Tyrer converting for a 6-0 scoreline.

Murray almost created a second try immediately with a surging break, although it was the Eagles, on their first visit into the Fax 20, who scored next when Aston slipped a brilliant pass to the impressive St Helens forward Jack Ashworth, Oscar Thomas levelling the scores with the conversion.

Fax slowly turned the screw though, with Fax dominating in the middle of the field and Barber’s surging run setting the position for Woodburn-Hall to carve open the defence and score under the posts, Tyrer on target for a 12-6 advantage.

Sheffield continued to press, but with Fax resisting six consecutive sets on their own line around the half hour mark, the balance of power was already clear.

Barber opened the scoring in the second half, cutting back against the defence to score his side’s third try, Tyrer’s conversion pushing the score out to 18-6.

Sheffield did eventually muster a reply on a rare foray downfield, Aston - inevitably - the architect for Matt James’ try.

But the home side simply moved up a gear; Murray and fellow prop Dan Fleming both scoring late tries as the home side finished well on top.

Halifax: Sharp; Clare, Tyrer, Barber, Saltonstall; Murrell, Woodburn-Hall; Fleming, Moore, Murray, Grix, Grady, Fairbank. Subs: Morris, Douglas, Kaye, Maher

Eagles: Millar; Lo, Spedding, Toole, Blackmore; Thomas, Aston; Lees, Fozzard, Offerdahl, James, Ashworth, Moran. Subs: Burns, Magrin, Djalout, Pick

Referee: J. McMullen