Fax ease past Barrow, focus on Dewsbury

Sion Jones scores for Fax
Sion Jones scores for Fax

Halifax were able to begin their preparations for Monday’s Championship date at Dewsbury (3.0) just after half time in the Good Friday win over Barrow.

Richard Marshall’s side controlled the Cumbrians for most of the game, leading 16-4 at half time and 24-4 after 53 minutes on their way to a 30-4 victory.

That meant Marshall was able to withdraw back rower Shane Grady, who been expected to figure in only one of the two Easter fixtures because of an ongoing knee injury, in-form loose forward Jacob Fairbank, hooker Brandon Moore and captain Scott Murrell as the half wore on.

“We definitely had an eye on Monday because we know we haven’t got the biggest squad in the world,” said Marshall, who was clearly pleased with a comprehensive team performance after the back-to-back losses against Oldham and Toulouse.

“Fairbank only played 40 minutes but he really put himself about in that time and we were able to get Brandon and Scott off early as well.

“Grady did just over half a game and we’re hopeful he might be able to play on Monday as well now; the medical staff guided us a bit on that one so we’ll see how we get on.

“It was a pleasing performance; I thought we were on top for most of the game.

“We played with good intensity coming off the Toulouse game, which was a tough, physical game and we’ve backed it up.

“I thought the young players did very well for us; it was a different game and a different performance, but while we lost against Oldham in the Challenge Cup one of the benefits was exposing those young players to that experience, which gives them something to work off.

“Sion Jones is progressing really well, I was pleased with Conor McGrath and I thought the two loanees from Castleford both put in good stints.

“Chester Butler was desperate to play and he came in had a really good go.”

On a cold, damp night at the Shay, Fax opted to kick the penalty chances that came their way, with centre Steve Tyrer, who also scored one of his side’s four tries, kicking three on his way to a perfect seven-from-seven with the boot.

“We’ve got a lot of respect for Barrow and we felt it was important we kept the scoreboard ticking over,” said Marshall.

“Steve nailed every one as well, which was outstanding for him, and I think generally it really helped our confidence.

“I thought our kicking game in open play was very good and our first couple of contacts after those kicks really set the platform for what we did.

“There’s a lot to be pleased about before Monday, but we know that if we roll over at Dewsbury it will have been wasted.”