Fax power home against Cougars

Andy Bracek puts Sam Barlow in for a try
Andy Bracek puts Sam Barlow in for a try

Keighley 16

Halifax 42

Halifax opened their pre-season account with a comfortable win at Keighley, Karl Harrison’s side unleasing a last-quarter blitz to finally distance their dogged hosts.

Fax were leading 14-12 on the 60-minute mark after Keighley had clawed their way back from 14-0 down.

But with newly-signed hooker Karl Ashall on the field for a second spell, Fax scored five tries in 14 minutes to end the game as a contest and give Harrison a solid start to his preparations for 2013.

Teenage forward Niall Berrett, making his first team debut, prop Sam Barlow, centres Steve Tyrer and Ben Heaton and winger Lee Paterson all romped in before the Cougars notched a too little, too late last minute consolation of their own.

A positive result is one thing though, but these occasions are all about performance, and by that measure Harrison also had reason to smile.

All his new recruits - Scott Murrell, Andy Bracek, Rikki Sheriffe and Ashall - performed well, with Ashall the pick of the bunch with two incisive spells.

Trialists Freddy Walker and Keith Holden got through plenty of work while four rookie forwards - Berrett, Ross White, Iain Davies and Brent Taylor - all posted solid efforts.

Both sides started solidly rather than spectacularly, with Keighley coming the closest to breaking the early deadlock when Danny Jones’ fifth minute try was ruled out for a forward pass.

The visitors soon assumed control though and opened the scoring through Murrell, who was handed a try on a plate after Ross Divorty, Steve Tyrer and Lee Paterson expertly carved the Cougars open down the short side.

The conversion was missed, but Fax doubled their advantage when Sheriffe, who started the game at full back in place of the ill Ryan Fieldhouse, forced his way over in the right corner after good work from the excellent Dane Manning.

Fax were over again when Ben Heaton scored after being set up by Paul Handforth, but thereafter Keighley came more and more into the game.

They were helped by a steady stream of penalties, but it took them until just before the half hour to make it count on the scoreboard, replacement forward Ross Peltier scoring after player-coach Paul March engineered the opening.

Half back Scott Leatherbarrow kicked the conversion for 14-6 and that was how things stayed until the break.

The second half started with a brawl, March and Sam Barlow being dispatched to the sin bin after Peltier was lifted in the tackle, which enlivened proceedings briefly.

But it wasn’t until 15 minutes in that either side bothered the scoreboard operator; Jones scoring his customary try against his hometown club from Leatherbarrow’s pass and Leatherbarrrow closing the gap to 14-12 with the conversion.

Keighley continued to press, but Fax stretched their lead with 18 minutes to go, Handforth putting Bracek through and the Wales forward drawing the full back before sending Barlow over the line.

Berrett then dived on Handforth’s kick, Tyrer converting, as Fax pulled out to 12-26.

After that, it was virtually one way traffic Tyrer - after a neat kick from experimental full back Anthony Thackeray - Heaton and Paterson all touched down to complete a steady afternoon’s work.

Keighley: Jesse Sheriffe; Paul White, Ben Sagar, Daley Williams, Gavin Duffy; Danny Jones, Scott Leatherbarrow; Sean Hesketh, James Feather, Jode Sheriffe, Lewis Reed, Brendon Rawlins, Jamie Shepherd. Subs: Paul March, Danny Snowden, Mathew Bailey, Ross Peltier, Joe Chandler, Josh Lynam, Neil Cherryholme, Jack Copperthwaite.

Halifax: Rikki Sheriffe; Freddy Walker, Stephen Tyrer, Ben Heaton, Lee Paterson; Paul Handforth, Anthony Thackeray; Luke Ambler, Karl Ashall, Adam Robinson, Dane Manning, Ross Divorty, Scott Murrell. Subs: Keith Holden, Andy Bracek, Sam Barlow, Iain Davies, Ross White, Brent Taylor, Niall Berrett, Callum Casey.

Referee: Warren Turley (Leigh)