Understrength Fax bow out of 1895 Cup at Keighley

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Halifax made a predictable exit from the inaugural 1895 Cup after a virtual reserve side went down 52-8 to Sheffield at Keighley.

With 10 players making their senior debuts - and none of the side involved at Bradford on Sunday on duty - Fax, playing at Cougar Park because of ongoing pitch renovations at the Shay, were out of the contest by the end of the first quarter, with a full-strength Eagles side leading 20-0.

Jason Crookes, Patrick Burns, Anthony Thackeray and Josh Guzdek grabbed the early tries, with Pat Walker adding two conversions.

Fax responded with a Calvin Barber try, created by a slick pass from half back Fraser Stroud - who showed enough skill with very limited possession to hint at his talent - but Ben White’s conversion drifted wide.

The Eagles touched down twice more before half time, Ben Blackmore and Lewis Taylor going over, to push the score out to 30-4.

The ‘home’ side were much improved after the break, with the Eagles unable to add to their tally until the 59th minute, when Aaron Brown scored, Walker converting.

Fax grabbed a second through a kick and chase score from Reece Chapman-Smith to cut the gap to 36-8, but Ryan Millar, Blackmore and Crookes all went over in the closing stages to complete a relatively easy evening’s work for Mark Aston’s side.

Halifax: Chapman-Smith; Jones, McGrath, Barker, Smillie; White, Stroud; Calcott, Curtis Davies, Billingham, Syme, Waite, Connor Davies. Subs: Rhys Davies, Hall, Windley, Henry Davies

Sheffield: Guzdek; Millar, Brown, Crookes, Blackmore; Walker, Thackeray; Pick, Davey, Broadbent, Esslemont, Davies, P. Burns. Subs: G. Burns, Taylor, Makelim, Farrell

Referee: Tom Grant