Fax edged out of Challenge Cup by Brown’s second half show

Ryan Fieldhouse opens the scoring
Ryan Fieldhouse opens the scoring

Halifax’s hopes of a springing a Challenge Cup shock against Super League outfit Widnes were extinguished by an accomplished second half performance by Denis Betts’ Vikings, who eventually ran out 34-10 winners at the Shay.

Fax had stunned their full-time visitors when they raced into an early 10-0 lead and Karl Harrison’s side were still 10-6 in front at the break.

But with former Huddersfield and Wigan playmaker Kevin Brown pulling the strings behind a relentless pack, Widnes ran in 28 second half points to seal a place in the fifth round.

Brown bagged two tries himself and set up two more as the Cheshire side, who were without a clutch of regular starters through injury, finally secured enough possession to smother an impressive Fax line up.

Brown plundered his first nine minutes after the break after a pass from skipper Jon Clarke, with Fax old boy Danny Tickle’s conversion giving the Vikings the lead for the first time at 12-10.

Brown then set up wing pair Paddy Flynn and Declan Hulme for back to back scores with inch-perfect kicks, Tickle kicking Widnes 22-10 ahead.

Prop Phil Joseph then stormed in before Brown’s 90 metre interception score seconds from full time sealed victory.

It had been a different story before the break with Fax, who went into the game without in-form half back Ben Johnston after he was injured in Friday’s training session, the dominant force for significant periods.

They got off to a flying start when full back Ryan Fieldhouse took a Tommy Saxton pass to touchdown, Steve Tyrer converting against his former club.

And when skipper Scott Murrell’s kick was hoovered up by flying winger Gareth Potts, Fax led 10-0 after 17 minutes.

Clarke pulled a score back for Widnes, Tickle converting for a 10-6 scoreline at the break.

But in the second half Brown’s class proved too much for the home side.

Halifax: Fieldhouse; Saxton, Tyrer, Cowling, Potts; Murrell, Brown; Ambler, Kaye, Bracek, Manning, Divorty, Adamson. Subs: Mennell, Tonks, Davies, Casey

Widnes: Owens; Flynn, Dean, Lloyd, Hulme; Brown, White; Gerrard, Clarke, Joseph, Galea, Tickle, Cahill. Subs: Clough, Allen, Isa, O’Carroll.

Referee: Matthew Thomason

Attendance: 2,271