Championship: Woodburn-Hall grabs a treble as Fax ease to victory at Rochdale

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Half back James Woodburn-Hall racked up a hat trick of tries as Halifax secured a much-needed 48-24 Championship victory at struggling Rochdale.

The Londoner showed trademark strength and footwork to score twice in quick succession before the break and once after it as Richard Marshall’s side eased to victory in the second half.

With a relatively slender 22-18 interval lead, Fax - who lost skipper Scott Murrell to injury just after the restart - looked much sharper after the break.

There were 47 minutes on the clock when James Saltonstall put Will Sharp over to stretch the lead to 26-18 and it was one way traffic after that as the visitors finally found some fluency with the ball.

Woodburn-Hall stepped over, before Quentin Laulu-Togagae danced in for his 200th career touchdown, Tyrer’s boot pushing the margin out to a match winning 36-18.

Saltonstall then scored himself from an Ed Barber pass, before QLT finished the job with another quick-stepping touchdown, Tyrer converting, before Carl Forster grabbed a final-play consolation for Hornets.

Earlier, Halifax had begun, as they have so often this year, by going behind.

Ben Kavanagh’s pass to Jacob Fairbank ended up on the ground and a handful of tackles later. Lee Mitchell was waltzing over under the posts, Dan Abram converting for a 6-0 lead.

Abram then added a penalty to make it 8-0, before Fax responded with two tries in quick succession, both from centre Tyrer with assists from Woodburn-Hall.

The first came from a kick, the second a pass with Rochdale’s Jack Higginson cooling his heels in the sin bin.

Tyrer converted one to put the visitors 10-8 ahead, but their paperthin goalline defence opened once more to allow Higginson to score, putting Rochdale back in front at 12-10.

A quickfire double from Woodburn-Hall, the second a fine finish after Dan Fleming’s break, looked to have finally put Fax in control at 22-12 as half time approached, only for Ellis Robson’s barge-over on the stroke of half time, Abram converting to close the deficit to 22-18 at the break.

It was largely one way traffic after the break though.

Rochdale: Kay; Ainscough, Higginson, Morris, Wood; Howarth, Abram; Mitchell, Moore, Forster, Case, Weldon, Carberry. Subs: Moores, Robson, Ryan, Millington

Halifax: Laulu-Togagae; Sharp, Tyrer, Saltonstall, Robinson; Murrell, Woodburn-Hall; Kavanagh, Kaye, Fairbank, Barber, Cooper, Calcott. Subs: Chapman-Smith, Moore, Fleming, Morris

Referee: Tom Crashley