Halifax coach Richard Marshall has said he will not allow his side to “waste” their performance against Super League side Widnes in the last 16 of the Challenge Cup.
Fax bowed out of the competition 28-18 after a late Vikings try, awarded amid some controversy after what appeared to be a blatantly forward pass, finally killed off Marshall’s part-timers.
But after being locked at 18-18 until the 63rd minute, and looking capable of overcoming a 22-18 deficit inside the last 10 minutes, there were more positives than negatives for Fax.
“I’m immensely proud of that team; their efforts were outstanding, probably at a level we’ve not seen for a number of weeks, maybe not at all this season,” said Marshall, whose side now head to Batley next Sunday (3.0) for a game that could prove pivotal in the fight for a top four Championship finish.
“We knew we had to raise our game against a quality Super League team and we did that from one to 17.
“I would hate for that to go to waste, that’s what I’m about now.
“You can’t put a performance in like that and then go and roll over in the Championship.
“We can’t do that, it can’t happen.
“We need to savour that, look at the things we did well, smarten up a few things around the ruck - which was where they did a bit of a job on us at times - and take it into the league.
“It’s tough that we’ve lost; I thought we were unlucky with a few calls, certainly with that forward pass at the end.
“That was ridiculous, we had a look on the video at the end and the linesman was in line with it, but it’s a hot day, concentration levels maybe waver.
“It cost us though, because at 22-18, with the way we were playing, I felt we were well capable of going down the other end and scoring.
“That’s the way it goes.”
Fax went into the game without props Mitch Cahalane and Luke Ambler through injury, while half back Gareth Moore was not risked because of a shoulder problem.
Marshall recalled centre Ben Heaton, who played strongly alongside Sam Smeaton in the problem right side back row berth, taking the official Man of the Match prize, while Miles Greenwood returned at full back to post his best performance since his comeback from a broken leg.
“We had some players who hadn’t played for a number of weeks and they all performed really well,” said Marshall.
“Someone like Ben Heaton has grafted this week and come in and got man of the match after a few weeks out of the side, and deservedly so.
“Gareth could have played at a pinch, but it wasn’t worth risking him.
“Connor and Adam Robinson both played well and Miles, after a shaky start, was a great at the back, a real threat for us.”