Marshall: Young forward a highlight of a hard fought victory

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Halifax coach Richard Marshall singled out the performance of rookie prop Sion Jones as a highlight of a largely frustrating 26-20 Championship success over Rochdale.

The 20 year old Welshman, a regular in the club’s reserves last year, was hugely impressive on his senior debut and was arguably the best of the four front rowers on duty at Spotland.

Marshall credited Jones’ surging runs as being one of the spark’s for his side’s second half resurgence, which saw them bounce back from a 14-6 deficit with two tries from Fax’s other outstanding individual, full back Will Sharp.

“I thought Sion was very good and that’s a big positive for us,” said Marshall.

“He deserved his debut and he made the most of his chance.

“I didn’t want to bring him off towards the end, we just thought he was tiring slightly because he wasn’t used to the intensity.

“I thought he laid the groundwork for the comeback, I really did.

“Looking at him, I think there’s a group of players behind this group ready to go, so some people probably need to watch out.

“Will was excellent again; the sun was really low in that first half and a couple of those catches, he did really well to take them under a lot of pressure.

“He’s been good in every game and he puts his hand up and it was good to see him get a couple of important tries.

“We’ve some players who aren’t playing on the top of their game at the moment.

“It’s job to help them get there or find someone else who is.”

Two league points and Jones’ obvious promise aside, Marshall conceded that a week spent focusing on his team’s attacking game had somehow backfired as they made a string of first half handling errors.

“I am probably a bit downbeat, as downbeat after a win as I can remember while I’ve been here, but we will improve,” he said.

“When you really focus on something, sometimes it comes back and bites you.

“I’ll reflect on what we did in the week; we have concentrated solely on the ball this week and by the looks of it, it didn’t work.

“We completed at 58 per cent in that first half; they were individual errors, but they were from different individuals and people you don’t expect to make those errors.

“Our timing wasn’t the best and we certainly haven’t hit our straps yet, but our determination, our defence and our doggedness is getting us through.

“Even at the end, we thought we’d won the game through Ed at 26-14 and then 10 seconds later we’re underneath our own posts again.

“It’s concentration and personal responsibility to keep hold of the football.

“I knew Rochdale would be really up for this after the way they played last Monday against Dewsbury, and if you combine that with us being well below par, we’re pleased to have got the win.”