Halifax 50 Whitehaven 18
Halifax made a scorching return to the Shay this afternoon with a hard-earned Championship victory over Whitehaven.
The Cumbrian side posed a few problems, but a totally professional second half display brought Fax rich rewards.
It was a game played in sweltering conditions between two sides determined not to give an inch.
Whitehaven threatened first when Lee Doran and Jamie Rooney combined but their hopes were dashed by a forward pass.
Fax responded with Wayne Reittie smashing full back Adam Swift into touch as the visitors looked to break from their own line before Ryan Fieldhouse looked to break through only to fall victim to a fine tackle from Rooney.
However, it was the visitors who hit the front after 11 minutes when Jesse Joe Parker squeezed over in the corner after a small spell of pressure. Rooney adding a fine kick from out wide.
A brief skirmish close to the ‘Haven posts was quickly sorted as Fax were frustrated in their efforts to hit back immediately, knocking on five metres out.
Fax lost Scott Murrell early doors with what appeared to be a wrist injury sustained when he was tackled and his replacement Luke Ambler should have done better when twisting out of a tackle but dropped the ball over the line.
The hosts finally saw their persistance pay off after 26 minutes when Anthony Thackeray burst through for a fine score, Steve Tyrer levelling things with the conversion.
It got even better three minutes later when a ball over the was fielded by Craig Ashall who slipped the pass for Thackeray to race in unoposed for his second, Tyrer having an easy job of adding the two from in front of the posts.
Fax would have hoped to push on but ‘Haven full back Adam Swift raced the length of the pitch for his side’s second try with Rooney making it 12-12 with the conversion.
Fine hands then set Ryan Fieldhouse galloping towards the line but he faltered and that allowed the visitors to put him to ground.
However, it was Fieldhouse who played the lead role in Fax’s third try when he sprinted almost the length of the pitch before bringing Luke Adamson into play and he did the rest, Tyrer converting for an 18-12 interval advantage.
The hosts wasted no time in adding to their score when an inside pass from Paul Handforth found Callum Casey who dived over with Tyrer landing the conversion for 24-12.
‘Haven produced a spell of pressure but an attempted chip to the corner was plucked out of the air by Rob Worrincy and Fax were able to clear the danger.
The visitors continued to make steady progress towards the Fax line and Rooney was able to stretch over to reduce the deficit, the same player adding the conversion.
Faxcon tinued to work hard in the stifling conditions and were rewarded when a crossfield kick was superbly fielded by Tyrer for a touchdown. Unfortunatley he pulled his conversion attempt well wide.
Within seconds Fax were over again with Lee Paterson touching down in the corner, Tyrer making amends with another super touchline conversion for a 34-18 ead.
There followed a moment of pure magic when another crossfield bomb was palmed back by Worrincy at full stretch and Tyrer was on hand to profit.
Seconds later another burst saw Craig Ashall go in behind the posts, Tyrer completing the job.
The hooter had sounded when Craig Ashall showed great awareness to craft a fine individual try, Tyrer putting the icing on the cake with the conversion.
Halifax: Fieldhouse, Worrincy, Tyrer, Paterson, Reittie, Murrell, Thackeray, Tonks, Handforth, Bracek, Manning, Divorty, Ashall. Subs: Ambler, Robinson, Adamson, Casey.
Whitehaven: Swift, Calvert, McAvoy, Parker, Cameron, Rooney, Southernwood, Jackson, Thorman, Houghton, Doran, Clarke, Paterson. Subs: Sice, Hand, Cullnean, Walker.
Referee: G. Hewer.