Harrison: Batley win crucial for Fax’s morale

Ben Heaton head for the try line
Ben Heaton head for the try line

Halifax coach Karl Harrison spoke of a release of “pressure” on his side after they broke a miserable run of results with victory over Batley.

Fax triumphed 29-24 at the Shay to put themselves in the box seat for a top four finish ahead of Thursday night’s penultimate league fixture at Keighley.

But they needed late scores from two-try heroes Wayne Reittie and Craig Ashall to overhaul a 24-19 deficit created by Greg Johnson’s try with seven minutes to go.

“You could see with the emotion afterwards what it meant to the team,” said Harrison, whose side had taken just one win and a draw from their last five games.

“I’m not sure how many times you can win and lose a game in 80 minutes, but it was two evenly matched teams and it went to the death.

“There were some big momentum changes, but I thought we showed great resolve and character.

“Collectively, we’re not quite there but there were some great individual performances.

“Reitte has been good for a while, that was Luke Adamson’s best game for us, Ashall went well and Dane Manning was awesome, again.

“Overall, it was nice to see some smiling faces again in the dressing room, because I think people have been feeling a little bit of pressure.

“But players need to realise that when you play at this club there is the expectation that you will perform to a certain level and we have been under-performing over the last month.

“Hopefully that will push us in the right direction now for the last two games and the play offs.”

Harrison was forced to make a last minute team change when forward Adam Robinson withdrew because of illness, paving the way for Lee Paterson to come onto the bench.

Paterson replaced full back Ryan Fieldhouse in the second half - after Fax’s number one suffered a head injury colliding with the referee - and set up his side’s last try for Reittie in a strong performance.

“It was a great call from Robinson, because he knew he wasn’t right,” said Harrison.

“Lee was great when he came on; he’s a very good clubman.”