Fax stretch their lead at the top of the Championship

Dewsbury 24 Halifax 34

Halifax stretched their lead at the summit of the Co-operative Championship to four points with the grittiest of away wins at Rams Stadium.

Karl Harrison’s visitors, who played 40 minutes with 15 fit players after losing centre James Haley (shoulder) and back rower Ross Divorty (foot) with injuries, trailed 14-6 in the first half and 24-18 with a quarter of the game remaining against a fired-up Rams side.

But Fax’s extra class told in the final 10 minutes, with half back Paul Handforth creating a try for the former Dewsbury forward Adam Robinson and Lee Paterson holding his nerve to kick the conversion that tied the scores up at 24-24.

And Handforth then conjured what turned out to be the winning score, sending stand-in centre Anthony Bowman racing over on the right to put Fax 28-24.

A last-gasp try from captain Sean Penkywicz, converted by Paterson, ensured an away success that was nothing if not hard earned.

Earlier, Fax had defended strongly from the start, withstanding an early barrage from Dewsbury – who looked anything but a side coming off the back of four straight defeats – to take a 6-0 lead through a Sam Barlow try, converted by Paterson.

The Rams finally got on the scoresheet when the outstanding prop Steve Crossley took advantage of some ball-watching in the visitors’ defence to touchdown, Pat Walker levelling at 6-6 with the conversion.

Walker then added a penalty, before the Rams opened up a 14-8 lead through full back James Craven’s score just after the half hour.

When Fax finally got their hands on the ball, they looked dangerous; a point proved by Sean Hesketh’s touchdown just before the break, Paterson cutting the deficit to two points with the conversion.

Prop Jim Gannon’s try eight minutes after the break put Fax 18-14 up, but two well-worked tries in three minutes from Elliot Cosgrove and Austin Buchanan gave the Rams a measure of control at 24-18.

If there was a turning point it followed a couple of minutes later; Fax winger Rob Worrincy producing a sensational 80 metre chase to deny Buchanan a try after the former Super League speedster had intercepted a pass deep in Rams’ territory.

Fax rallied from that moment on, finally finding the composure and skill that had eluded them for much of the evening to clinch a crucial three points.

Dewsbury: James Craven; Daley Williams, Ryan Esders, Ayden Faal, Austin Buchanan; Pat Walker, Scott Spaven; Ben Jones, Liam Hood, Steve Crossley, Rob Spicer, Josh Tonks, Brad Singleton. Subs: Greg Scott, Elliott Cosgrove, Billy Harris, George Flanagan

Halifax: Ryan Fieldhouse; Rob Worrincy, Lee Paterson, James Haley, Paul White; Paul Handforth, Anthony Thackeray; Sam Barlow, Sean Penkywicz, Luke Ambler, Ross Divorty, Adam Robinson, Craig Ashall. Subs: Anthony Bowman, Dane Manning, Sean Hesketh, Jim Gannon