Back to back losses as Fax fail at Barrow

Rob Worrincy
Rob Worrincy

Halifax suffered a second defeat in five days after they went down 26-12 against Barrow on the Cumbrian coast.

Karl Harrison’s side were never anywhere near their best, especially in an awful second half, and looked to be struggling to deal with the emotional and physical aftermath of the tumultuous midweek loss at Leigh.

Harrison made a swathe of changes to the side that competed so strongly at the LSV without managing to back up their territorial dominance with points, some enforced, some not.

Threequarters Rob Worrincy and Steve Tyrer both returned, with full back Ryan Fieldhouse dropping out to be replaced by Lee Paterson.

But the more significant reshuffle came in the playmaking positions, with Anthony Bowman, last seen on loan at Championship One side Oldham, being recalled to play alongside captain Scott Murrell at half back in the absence of the injured Anthony Thackeray.

Young hooker Karl Ashall replaced his older brother Craig, who was limping heavily after the clash at the LSV, with veteran Paul Handforth dropping to the bench, where he joined debutant prop Ben Davies.

Ashall’s initial involvement barely outlasted the opening exchanges, the former Swinton player leaving the field with a dislocated finger.

Nevertheless, the visitors took the lead when Ross Divorty ran a clever line on the left and Murrell picked him out with a short ball, the back rower rounding Raiders full back Ben Hellewell to score.

Tyrer kicked the conversion, but the Raiders were in themselves five minutes later, the winger Dean McGilvrey scrambling over in the corner.

Kurt Haggerty missed the conversion and Fax went further ahead just before the half hour when Murrell strolled over.

Tyrer put Fax 12-4 ahead, but even then their performance lacked a bit of zip, perhaps understandably after their exertions at the LSV in midweek.

And when Hellewell crowned a flowing move down the right just before half time, Haggerty again putting the kick wide, the Raiders trailed 12-8 at the break.

The home side dominated the opening minutes of the second half, with the half back Liam Campbell and veteran back rower Liam Harrison causing havoc down their right.

Fax held on, with Ashall’s return giving them some invention in attack that almost brought a try for Ben Heaton, the centre just seeing the ball slip from his grasp as he stretched out in a three man tackle.

Harrison then scored from Campbell’s kick through, Kurt Haggerty kicking the Raiders into a 14-12 lead, leaving the visitors firmly on the back foot.

And when Halliwell touched down after a textbook midfield break from hooker Nathan Mossop, Haggerty again on the mark, Fax trailed 20-12 with 18 minutes to go.

After that, the result sadly never looked in doubt. Fax showed plenty of effort, but lacked the nous to break down the home defence.

And their fate was sealed when Campbell scored three minutes from time, robbing them of a bonus point and dropping them to fourth in the Championship table.

Barrow: Hellewell; Low, McGilvrey, Wiper, Clay; Finch, Campbell; Whitehead, Mossop, Spencer, Harrison, Haggerty, Jones, Brennan. Subs: Nicholson, Toal, Dawson, Marwood

Halifax: Paterson; Worrincy, Tyrer, Heaton, Reittie; Murrell, Bowman; Tonks, K. Ashall, Robinson, Manning, Divorty, Adamson. Subs: Handforth, Ambler, Bracek, Davies

Referee: Warren Turley