Late scores seal win as Fax distance Hunslet

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Late tries from James Saltonstall and Shaun Robinson saw Halifax clinch a 32-24 pre-season win over Hunslet at Post Office Road.

Richard Marshall’s side had trailed their League 1 opponents 24-16 at the break following an unconvincing opening 40 minutes.

But a largely youthful side was much improved in the second period, although Marshall was candid enough to admit afterwards there is still plenty of work to do before the Championship kicks off in early February.

Fax, ironically playing up the ground’s famous slope after the break, narrowed the deficit five minutes after the restart when prop Harry Kidd, playing his second game after a year-long absence following knee surgery, burst over from close range, Jordan Syme converting for a 24-22 scoreline.

And with Hunslet penned in their own half for long periods, Fax struck twice in the final 10 minutes; Robinson applying a diving finish in the corner following a surging run from Frazer Morris and Saltonstall backing up a rampaging Ed Barber to score under the posts two minutes later.

Fax had made an inauspicious start, conceding the first try with seven minutes on the clock when Hunslet full back James Watson touched down in the corner, Reece Dean adding the conversion.

Marshall’s side cut the gap to 6-4 when Conor McGrath applied a flying finish after new half back recruit Ben White and James Woodburn-Hall, whose bustle from full back was the biggest positive of the first half, shifted the ball to the left.

Syme’s conversion drifted wide and Hunslet were over again when Michael Emmett touched down from close range, Dean again on target.

Frenchman Kevin Larroyer responded in kind, Syme making it 10-12, but on an untidy afternoon Hunslet were over again when Syme and McGrath were outflanked by Fax old boy Gareth Potts.

Dean converted again and although White provided a highlight when he backed up a great break from Saltonstall to score, Syme converting, the final act of the half summed up much of what had gone before; Adam Brook throwing a pass that Dean easily intercepted to push his side’s interval lead out to 24-16.

But with Fax playing with far more control after the break, that proved to be Hunslet’s final score of the afternoon.

Halifax: Woodburn-Hall; McGrath, Syme, Butler, Saltonstall; Brook, White; E. Morris, Moore, Kidd, Larroyer, Connor Davies, Calcott. Subs: Curtis Davies, Cooper, Barber, Robinson, Jones, Tyrer, F. Morris.

Hunslet: Watson; Potts, Halafihi, Thomas, Bloomfield; Southernwood, Dean; Moore, Wright, Robinson, Heaton, Straugheir, Emmett. Subs: Flynn, Haley, Hawksworth, Webb, Nicklas, Sanderson