Fax open 2020 account with pre-season victory over Super League Hull FC

Paul Brearley scored on his debut
Paul Brearley scored on his debut

Halifax kicked off their pre-season programme with a convincing 18-10 win over a young Hull FC side at the Shay.

Simon Grix’s side, with four new recruits in their starting 13, led 6-0 at the break before scoring two tries in the final quarter to seal a win that, at the very least, can be classed as encouraging after the club’s dreadful 2019 season.

The only real downside was a serious hip injury to experienced forward Ben Kavanagh, who was stretchered off in the first half after a lengthy delay and seems likely to be a long-term casualty.

Fax were on the front foot from the off against an FC side composed of the club’s next generation of talent mixed with proven Super League performers, notably half back Albert Kelly, Andre Savelio and Josh Griffin.

Grix fielded new half back Tom Gilmore and hooker Keal Carlile, with both players rewarding him with crisp, clever performances that hinted at more to come.

Gilmore laid on the opening try after 20 minutes, popping up on the left edge and placing a perfectly judged kick behind the line for James Woodburn-Hall to score.

Gilmore converted from the sideline for a 6-0 lead and, with the visitors struggling to escape their own half for significant periods, Fax were well worth their half time lead.

Hull came more into the game after the break, and scored a brilliant try through Charles Patterson-Lund after 52 minutes, Kelly providing the final pass, with Liam Harris’ kick levelling the scores at 6-6.

Kelly made a sparkling break straight from the restart, but was wrapped up by Reece Chapman-Smith and the home side were back in front on 64 minutes when Carlile flicked a short-side pass to another debutant, giant back rower Paul Brearley, who was unstoppable from close range.

Substitute Steve Tyrer converted for a 12-6 lead which blew out to 18-6 when Tyrer juggled brilliantly to put young Huddersfield winger Travis Corion over in the corner and then kicked an equally fine conversion.

Hull grabbed a late consolation from Jacob Hookem, but it was not enough to take the gloss off a good afternoon’s work.

Halifax: Chapman-Smith; Saltonstall, Woodburn-Hall, Barber, McGrath; Murrell, Gilmore; Fleming, Carlile, Morris, Garside, Brearley, Larroyer. Subs: Curtis Davies, Tyrer, Kavanagh, Fairbank, Calcott, Stroud, Copley, Corion

Hull: Wynne; Dawson, Myers, Scott, Naulago; Kelly, Harris; Matongo, Cator, Bienek, Savelio, Griffin, Fash. Subs: Graham, Sanderson, Brown, Patterson-Lund, Lane, McNamara, Johnstone, Goulding, Hookem, Buchanan.

Referee: N. Bennett