Halifax eased into the sixth round of the Challenge Cup with a comprehensive 36-12 win over Whitehaven at a sun-soaked Recreation Ground.
Richard Marshall’s side, showing some significant changes due to injuries, were never really in danger against the Cumbrians and will join the top eight Super League clubs in Tuesday night’s draw.
The visitors, who gave a debut to young back rower Martin Reilly, led 12-0 at the end of the first quarter and 24-6 at half time.
Haven defended stubbornly during the second half, but Fax were sure of their progress from the moment hooker Ben Kaye twisted over the line with 11 minutes remaining.
Fax looked like they had opened the scoring when Australian prop Mitch Cahalane barrelled over from Ryan Boyle’s pass, but the referee called a forward pass.
They wouldn’t be denied though, Scott Murrell and Cahalane combining well and the impressive Adam Tangata, deputising for the injured Simon Grix, powering over on the right for Steve Tyrer to convert.
They stretched their lead on 22 minutes, winger James Saltonstall continuing his prolific recent form after James Woodburn-Hall and Tangata had ripped Haven’s defence to shreds, Tyrer again on target for a 12-0 scoreline.
A loose pass from hooker Ben Kaye gifted Haven some momentum and, eventually, they made it count when Elliott Miller touched down to cut the deficit to 12-6.
But a quickfire double from Woodburn-Hall and Shane Grady, both converted by Tyrer, put Fax back in the driving seat at 24-6 at the break.
Whitehaven persisted with their effort after the restart, but never really looked like breaching a solid defensive line, with Kaye’s short-range touchdown 11 minutes from time wrapping things up on the scoreboard at 30-6.
Veteran centre Jesse Joe Parker scored for the home side in the closing minutes, but Kaye’s second score wrapped up a solid afternoon’s work.
Halifax: Robinson; Saltonstall, Woodburn-Hall, Tyrer, Worrincy; Johnston, Murrell; Boyle, Kaye, Cahalane, Tangata, Grady, Morris. Subs: Moore, Nelmes, Reilly, Barber