Halifax coach Richard Marshall conceded he ‘felt like he’d run a Marathon’ after watching his side squeak past lowly Swinton at the Shay.
Marshall, who completed a 10 kilometre fundraising run for Overgate Hospice and Fax’s reserve side in the morning, endured a nerve-shredding afternoon after an at times disjointed performance saw his side trail 12-10 against the previously-winless Lions with five minutes remaining.
But a lofted pass from captain Scott Murrell put young winger Conor McGrath over in the corner, before Steve Tyrer scored on the other flank to seal an 18-12 win and keep Fax in the race for a top four finish.
“I did the 10K for Overgate, but I felt like I’d done a Marathon by the end of that,” he said.
“It was a tough old game, our toughest game at home for a long time in some ways.
“Swinton were the better side for long spells of the game, but when we needed to turn it on and get some individual efforts in at the end we did that.
“That’s pleasing and the players feel like we’d probably have lost that game last season.
“Swinton’s scramble defence was excellent all the way through the game; they’re a good side and if they play like that they’ll pick some results up.
“They’ll be sore after losing that one, but they can hold their heads up high.
“We wore them down in the end and we had a bit more quality when we really needed it.
“They undid us in the first half, I thought we were rubbish.
“We defended pretty well, but our attack certainly wasn’t on song.”
Fax were short of individual brilliance for most of the contest, but McGrath’s finishing, the improvement of his young centre partner Chester Butler and the intervention of his senior players late in the game caught Marshall’s eye.
“Conor is coming on, Chester is getting better every week and the older players, Simon Grix and Scott Murrell, helped us close things out,” he said.
“Simon moving into the middle in that second half really helped us.
“Overall, you would never question the fortitude and commitment of the players, but we can let each other down sometimes with our skill levels.
“We could have had more tries with better execution or making better decisions about when to run and when to pass.
“The pitch was really heavy though; it’s had a lot of games on it and it’s credit to the groundsmen it was as good as it was.”