Saltonstall scores three as Fax open league account

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Halifax opened their Championship account at the third attempt with winger James Saltonstall scoring three tries as they thrashed Sheffield 42-16 at the Shay.

Richard Marshall’s side, bolstered by the inclusion of the on loan Huddersfield hooker Adam O’Brien, were a team transformed from the shambles that sank without trace at Batley last weekend.

The home side had hit the front inside four minutes, O’Brien sneaking out of dummy half to the left of the posts and diving over the line for Tyrer to kick Fax into a 6-0 lead.

They continued to offer a threat with the ball, with the Australian Mitch Cahalane and loose forward Jacob Fairbank setting a platform up front for O’Brien, centre James Woodburn-Hall and the back three of James Saltonstall, Rob Worrincy and Will Sharp to cause real problems.

They doubled their advantage on 19 minutes, Fairbank sending Cahalane charging through and the front rower flicking a reverse ball for Scott Murrell, who scored under the posts.

Tyrer was on target again and was lining up his third conversion six minutes later after the backline attacked from deep and O’Brien again picked the lock to send Ben Johnston racing behind the posts.

They might have added to their tally in quick succession, the outstanding Saltonstall and Tyrer threatening on the right and the left, but the defence just hanging on.

The Eagles finally got themselves off the mark on a rare visit downfield, prop Scott Wheeldon profiting from back to back penalties to plough under the posts.

At 18-6, the first score of the second half looked crucial, and it went Fax’s way.

Worrincy made a long burst downfield and the ball was whipped right, where Woodburn-Hall put Saltonstall over by the flag, Tyrer hitting the post with a kick that left the home side leading 22-6.

After that, it was largely one way traffic as the home side twisted their knife into a team that had no answers, in attack or defence.

Prop Luke Ambler ploughed over from close range, Saltonstall soloed in at the corner after standing up Garry Lo and Menzie Yere and Tyrer twisted in from close range as the scoreline stretched out to 38-6.

Sheffield grabbed a score back through Ben Blackmore, and then another late effort from Duane Straugheir, but the game belonged undeniably to the home side, a point underlined on the final play as Saltonstall ran away to score his third.

Halifax: Sharp; Saltonstall, Tyrer, Woodburn-Hall, Worrincy; Murrell, Johnston; Boyle, O’Brien, Cahalane, Barber, Grix, Fairbank. Subs: Morris, Wilkinson, Ambler, Lannon

Eagles: Chisholm; Lo, Yere, Whiteley, Blackmore; Brown, Minchella; Wheeldon, Fozard, Weston, James, Hope, Burr. Subs: Straugheir, Trout, Scott, Harper

Referee: Chris Kendall