Super 8s Qualifiers: Under-strength Fax sink without trace at Leigh

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A weakened Halifax side lost their sixth straight Super 8s Qualifiers game at Leigh, the home side running out 40-6 winners at Leigh Sports Village.

Richard Marshall’s part timers headed across the Pennines devoid of some key players through injury, most notably captain Scott Murrell and former Warrington star Simon Grix.

Young forwards Will Calcott and Frazer Morris, on loan from Wakefield Trinity, both made their debuts but were unable to alter the momentum of a largely one-sided contest.

The absence of Murrell’s kicking game was most keenly felt; six players had put boot to ball in open play during the opening half hour and it was the 39th minute before the back rower Shane Grady came up with a kick that pinned Leigh down near their own line.

Despite conceding the lion’s share of field position, the visitors’ defence restricted Leigh to three scores until just before the break, James Clare, Ben Reynolds and Mitch Brown all touching down, with Reynolds kicking two conversions for a 14-0 lead.

And when Fax’s Australian forward Mitch Cahalane forced his way over and Steve Tyrer converted, the visitors trailed just 14-6 with a couple of minutes of the half remaining.

But a mix up between Ben Johnston and Steve Tyrer, neither player killing the ball after Tyrer dropped Johnston’s pass, put a try on a plate for Brown with seconds to go to half time, Reynold’s kicking Leigh 20-6 up.

Things deteriorated from that point, with the visitors unable to hold the ball for more than a couple of tackles for the first 20 minutes of the second half.

Leigh scored twice, through Clare and Harrison Hansen, and might have had a few more without some wayward finishing.

Reynolds missed both conversions to leave the score at 28-6, but with the visitors’ game falling apart, further touchdowns from Brown and Gregg McNally, both converted by Reynolds, pushed the winning margin out to 40-6.

Leigh: McNally; Brown, Crooks, Langi, Clare; Reynolds, Drinkwater; Maria, Hood, Tickle, Paterson, Stewart, Burr. Subs: Pelissier, Richards, Fleming, Hansen

Halifax: Saltonstall; Butler, Heaton, Tyrer, Worrincy; Sio, Johnston; Douglas, Moore, Tangata, Grady, Cahalane, Fairbank. Subs: Calcott, Morris, Kaye, Boyle

Referee: Chris Kendall