Late tries see Halifax snatch Championship victory against Swinton

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Two tries in the final 10 minutes from centres Steve Tyrer and James Saltonstall saw Halifax snatch an 18-16 Championship win against Swinton at the Shay.

Richard Marshall’s side, heavily beaten at Featherstone last weekend, were trailing 16-6 after being second best for much of a dour, rain-soaked contest.

But with veteran loose forward Simon Grix producing an inspirational second spell they got themselves back in the game when Tyrer profited from a Swinton error in the 70th minute.

The centre kicked the conversion and four minutes later a thundering charge from Grix ended with Fax winning a penalty and veteran playmakers Scott Murrell and Quentin Laulu Togagae slipped Saltonstall over in the corner to level the scores at 16-16.

Tyrer kept his cool to land the winning conversion from close to the sideline and the home side survived a nerve-jangling finale to claim a victory that had looked beyond unlikely.

The result was cruel on Swinton, who had Wigan’s England Academy stand off Harry Smith in outstanding form with the boot, but represented a crucial victory for Fax.

The first half had started with a predictable war of attrition as both sides stuck with a conservative approach in cold, wet conditions.

It said everything that when Smith carved out a try for winger Matt Ashton after 25 minutes it was the first time either side had conjured anything resembling a clear cut chance.

Smith couldn’t convert from the sideline, but when the teenager popped up again with a perfectly weighted grubber kick five minutes later, Ashton zoomed in for his second with the cover nowhere to be seen.

This time Smith did add the extras and although Fax had plenty of ball in the remaining 10 minutes of the half they never really looked like doing anything with it as their playmaking, with Ben Johnston recalled at half back in place of Ben White, seemed more uncoordinated than ever.

The sides traded tries in the third quarter, Fax crossing through Saltonstall and Tyrer’s conversion cutting the gap to 10-6, before another kick created a try for Mike Butt and prompted QLT being shunted out to the wing when Swinton were in possession.

In the end though, the home side found a way to win.

Halifax: Laulu-Togagae; Sharp, Tyrer, Saltonstall, Robinson; Murrell, Johnston; Fleming, Kaye, Fairbank, Larroyer, Grady, Grix. Subs: Kavanagh, Morris, Moore, Cooper

Swinton: Hansen; Butt, Forsyth, Hankinson, Ashton; Smith, Fairclough, Bennion, Waterworth, Hatton, Halton, Shelford, Kenga. Subs: Ganson, Hall, Jones, Williams

Referee: Liam Staveley