Fax’s Championship play off hopes dealt huge blow with loss at Barrow

editorial image

Halifax’s chances of qualifying for the Championship play offs suffered a painful blow with a 21-8 defeat against struggling Barrow at Craven Park.

Simon Grix’s side - who have now lost three straight league games either side of their Challenge Cup quarter final win at Bradford - turned in an untidy performance on the Cumbrian coast, trailing 10-0 after 22 minutes before closing the gap to 10-8 early in the second half with tries from Shaun Robinson and Scott Grix.

But the Raiders, who had only won two games all year, survived the second half sin binning of half back Jamie Dallimore to clinch victory with two tries in three minutes early in the final quarter.

Winger Deon Cross got the first, his second of the game, with a finish in the corner and then Danny Morrow stormed over, Dallimore converting the second for a decisive 20-8 lead.

Jake Carter promptly added a drop goal to stretch the lead to a three-score margin at 21-8, with Fax never really threatening to conjure the miracle comeback they needed.

The visitors had made a number of changes to the side that sank without trace at Leigh a week earlier, with Robinson returning on the flank and Castleford forward Will Maher - who featured extensively on dual registration in 2018 - being drafted in against his hometown club.

Against that background, Fax made a less than ideal start, conceding a sixth-minute try to the Australian centre Jarrad Stack after a kick from Dallimore went unclaimed.

Dallimore converted for a 6-0 lead and although the visitors responded by forcing a series of drop outs to put the Raiders under the cosh, it was the home side who extended their lead when Cross scooped up to score after Robinson had lost possession.

Dallimore’s missed kick left Fax chasing a 10-0 deficit and after breaks from Kevin Larroyer and the industrious Scott Grix went unfinished, they finally broke Barrow’s resolve five minutes before the break when Robinson scored after Quentin Laulu-Togagae and Steve Tyrer created the chance.

Tyrer’s kick sailed wide, with Dallimore missing with a late drop goal attempt as the teams went to the break at 10-4 and Fax’s top five ambitions hanging by the proverbial thread.

The visitors got a perfect start to the second half, Grix slicing through to make it 10-8 and Dallimore receiving a yellow card on 47 minutes to leave the home side shorthanded.

But even that wasn’t enough to prevent the visitors unravelling.

Barrow: Ritson; Carter, Stack, Amean, Cross; Dallimore, Carter; Johnson, Puara, Susino, Walne, Smith, Aspinwall. Subs: Spedding, Walker, Riley, Morrow

Halifax: Grix; Robinson, Tyrer, Woodburn-Hall, Saltonstall; Murrell, Laulu-Togagae; Maher, Kaye, Fleming, Kavanagh, Fairbank. Subs: Moore, Tangata, Kirby, Morris

Referee: Gareth Hewer