So close as Fax slip to defeat in London

editorial image

Halifax slipped to a third Championship loss in five starts with a 29-22 reverse against another of the competition’s full time sides, London Broncos, in West London.

In keeping with the frustration of the losses against Batley and Sheffield, this was a game Richard Marshall’s side could, perhaps even should, have won.

With Ben Johnston restored to the starting line up at full back, Sam Smeaton replacing Ben Heaton at centre and former Warrington forward Gavin Bennion making his debut in the back row, Halifax led 22-18 going into the final quarter after half back Gareth Moore’s interception created the position for skipper Scott Murrell to crash over.

But a Nick Slyney touchdown, converted by Scott Leatherbarrow, put London back in front at 24-22 before a second touchdown for winger Rhys Williams and a Leatherbarrow drop goal in the closing minutes sealed the home side’s success.

It was the visitors who had seized the early advantage, when Mitch Cahalane and Jacob Fairbank combined to put Luke Ambler over the line, centre Steve Tyrer kicking the conversion for a 6-0 lead.

Broncos half back William Barthau levelled with a try converted by Wes Naiqama, with Barthau adding a second after the visitors turned the ball over on half way.

Another handling error presented a try on a plate for Williams, with only some wayward kicking from Naiqama keeping the visitors in striking distance at 14-6.

They narrowed the gap to 14-10 at the break through a James Saltonstall try, created by Johnston, and seized the lead early in the second half when Saltonstall set up Murrell, Tyrer’s conversion for a 16-14 lead.

Ben Hellewell edged London ahead again at 18-14 before Murrell’s second looked to have put them in a winning position, only for London’s late surge to secure the spoils.

London: Walker; Williams, Hellewell, Naiqama, Kear; Barthau, Leatherbarrow; Slyney, Cunningham, Iaone. Foster, Garside, Bussey. Subs: Davis, Harrison, Offerdahl, Battye

Halifax: Johnston; Sharp, Smeaton, Tyrer, Saltonstall; G. Moore, Murrell; Cahalane, Kaye, Ambler, Manning, Bennion, Fairbank. Subs: Tangata, Maneely, R. Moore, Robinson