Fax fight back to maintain winning run

Rikki Sheriffe
Rikki Sheriffe

Halifax made it four straight wins in the Championship with a hard fought 18-14 win over York at the Huntington Stadium.

But Karl Harrison’s side did it the hard way, slipping 14-0 behind during a terrible opening 15 minutes before clawing their way to what turned out to be a decisive 18-14 interval lead.

In freezing conditions, with play punctuated by a series of hail storms, it was difficult not to feel at least a little sympathy for Gary Thornton’s Knights, who forced their visitors into a string of early errors.

York took the lead within two minutes of the kick off, a misplaced kick from hooker Craig Ashall gifting them possession on the half way line and Jack Briscoe, the young Hull FC centre, racing clear straight from the scrum.

Stand off Simon Brown, whose kicking in general play caused Fax problems all afternoon, missed the conversion and was off target again on 10 minutes when loose forward Dean Hadley barged over to double York’s advantage to 8-0.

At that stage, Fax had enjoyed neither possession nor field position, and looked vulnerable whenever York pushed forward, a point highlighted when prop Josh Bowden broke the line but ignored the unmarked Jack Lee with the try begging.

It hardly seemed to matter when the full back Tom Carr forced his way over from point blank range, Brown hitting the target to leave York leading 14-0.

At that stage, Fax started to play and should have scored when Rikki Sheriffe went over the line, only to lose the ball trying to ground it.

It was Harrison’s decision to move Paul Handforth to hooker that proved crucial, the veteran playmaker creating a touchdown for Dane Manning almost immediately.

Steve Tyrer cut the gap to 14-6 with the kick, and when Handforth completely bamboozled the defence and ran 20 metres to score, Tyrer converting, the visitors only trailed by two points with half an hour played.

They saved the best until last, Handforth and Scott Murrell combining to send Adam Robinson rampaging through the line and the substitute trampling Carr to score under the posts.

Tyrer goaled to put Fax in front at the break and that turned out to be last score of the game after a tough but uninspiring second period failed to yield further points for either side.

Of the chances there were, Fax had the best of them, with both Handforth and Sheriffe going close to scoring.

York, for all their toil and the obvious talent of Briscoe, only came close once, when Carr was shovelled into touch by the corner flag.

York: Carr; Latus, Arundel, Briscoe, Dent; Brown, Presley; Bowden, Lee, Aldous, Scott, Smith, Hadley. Subs: Brining, Haynes, Bell, Sullivan

Halifax: Fieldhouse; Sheriffe, Heaton, Tyrer, Paterson; Handforth, Thackeray; Ambler, C. Ashall, Bracek, Manning, Divorty, Murrell. Subs: Tonks, K. Ashall, Robinson, Casey

Referee: Ronnie Laughton

Attendance: 909