Fax batter Rochdale to break Championship losing streak

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Halifax grabbed their first Championship win since mid-July with a 58-0 towelling of bottom-club Rochdale Hornets at the Shay.

Victory was never in doubt after the home side eased to a 20-0 half time lead, before turning the screw after the break against hapless opponents, who had loose forward Zac Baker sin-binned twice for high tackles, with winger Brandon Wood also receiving a late yellow card.

A contest between two teams with a combined total of one win in their last 31 outings had not promised much and a torrential downpour just before kick off did little to raise expectations.

But for the first 40 minutes there was only one team in it as Simon Grix’s Fax line up found a control that they’ve lacked for most of the year.

It was rarely spectacular, but after Jacob Fairbank’s try, converted by Steve Tyrer, had given them a third-minute lead they didn’t look like relinquishing their grip on their League 1-bound visitors.

They had already gone close to scoring on two further occasions - through Tyrer and full back James Woodburn-Hall - by the time captain Scott Murrell kicked high and wide for Tyrer to collect and score.

The centre’s conversion went wide, as did his next attempt when Woodburn-Hall scored three minutes later to leave a 14-0 scoreline.

Fax had two more scores ruled out - from Fairbank and Will Sharp - for forward passes before the break, but sandwiched in between those was a carbon-copy second for Tyrer, who converted for a 20-0 interval lead.

If Fax weren’t out of sight at the break, they were shortly after it, Hornets failure to collect the kick off sparking a burst of three tries in three minutes.

Sharp got the first from a James Saltonstall pass, Liam Cooper the second after a surge through the middle and Woodburn-Hall the third after an offload from Keegan Hirst.

Tyrer converted two for a 36-0 lead as Rochdale struggled to hold the ball and escape their own half.

Fax scored their best try of the game on 60 minutes, replacement winger Conor McGrath applying a spectacular finish to Woodburn-Hall’s slick pass on the left edge.

Tyrer converted for a 42-0 lead, and then created a second for McGrath with a flick pass before adding the kick from the sideline.

Dan Fleming’s late barge over and a diving finish on the other flank from Sharp rounded off a solid afternoon’s work.

Halifax: Woodburn-Hall; Robinson, Tyrer, Saltonstall, Sharp; Murrell, Johnston; Fairbank, Kaye, Hirst, Cooper, Kavanagh, Larroyer. Subs: Moore, Fleming, Morris, McGrath

Rochdale: Abram; Ainscough, Worthington, Grant, Wood; Thomas, Farrell; Marriott, Weldon, Syme, Shelford, Baker. Subs: Mitchell, Sheridan, Gleeson, Wood

Referee: C. Worsley

Attendance: 1,126