Halifax stormed into Tuesday night’s fifth round Challenge Cup draw, blitzing Championship One side Barrow 56-16 on a perfect spring afternoon on the Cumbrian coast.
Richard Marshall’s side had no trouble putting points on the board, romping away to a 40-0 half time lead to put the tie beyond any doubt.
The visitors were less fluent in a 16-16 second half, with Marshall replacing regular half backs Scott Murrell and Ben Johnston with centre Chris Taylor and hooker Ben Kaye as he reviewed his options following the departure of Australian Matt Place.
Full back James Saltonstall led the try scoring for Fax with two, while centre Steve Tyrer claimed a 20-point haul through a try and eight conversions.
“I thought at times we made it look easy, even though it wasn’t an easy game,” said Marshall, who takes his side to London next Saturday in the Championship.
“In the first half, we really pushed the pass and expected to be pushing into holes and make breaks.
“That was pleasing and when you score, kick off, score, kick off you get into a positive cycle with the attack.
“We weren’t quite as good in the second half, they came back really well, but we made a few changes to look at a few things, particularly at half back.
“We contributed to it in that sense, but we’re pleased we’re in the hat for the next round.
“It would be nice to get a home draw and try and build some momentum there now.”
The opening half was a sun-soaked rout from the moment recalled winger Alex Brown stormed over in the corner after 12 minutes, hooker Ben Kaye and Tyrer doing the spadework.
Tyrer converted and was on target again seconds later when the other centre, Ben Heaton, raced through on the right hand side.
The tries continued to come thick and fast, with the Raiders barely touching the ball, let alone having the energy or morale to do anything with it.
Ross Divorty romped over, Cook Islander Adam Tangata powered in from close range and Saltonstall sprinted clear from half way as Marshall’s side made the most of the perfect conditions.
There was no respite as half time approached, Ben Johnston darting in and Tyrer adding a great finish from inside his own half, although he did blot his perfect copybook by missing the conversion to restrict the half time lead to 40-0.
The Raiders did get themselves on the scoreboard just after the break, substitute Brad Marwood scrambling over to make it 40-4.
But Taylor backed up a Ross Divorty break down the left, Tyrer making it 46-4.
Cameron Pitman sneaked over in the corner for Barrow, fellow Leigh loanee Josh Ward converting from touch to make it 46-10, and it took committed scrambling to deny Nathan Mossop on the goalline in the next set of possession.
Normal service was finally resumed when Gareth Potts crossed in the corner, before Saltonstall bagged a second and Tyrer brought the curtain down on a thoroughly professional afternoon’s work.