By Stephen Ibbetson
Halifax RLFC put in a fantastic display to comfortably beat Sheffield Eagles 42-6 at a sun-soaked Olympic Legacy Park.
Fax ran in four tries in the first 20 minutes, with seven in total including braces for Chester Butler and Quentin Laulu-Togagae, while Steve Tyrer was faultless all afternoon from the tee.
Fax’s first score of the afternoon came after only four minutes, with Ben Kaye darting over from dummy half despite the best attempts of three defenders to keep him out from close range.
Just three minutes later that lead was extended, with Scott Murrell skilfully stepping around two defenders and finding Butler in support to score.
Sheffield did put on some pressure, with their best chance of the first half coming from a break down the right by Ben Blackmore, but his pass inside to Matty Costello was ruled to be forward and Halifax escaped. A couple of penalties then gave the Eagles good position, but Fax made up for errors with some strong defence as Matty Fozard was held up.
Two more tries in the space of four minutes made the lead a comfortable one. The first was created by the combination of Ben Johnston and Shane Grady, with the latter selflessly passing inside to QLT to score.
Butler then went over on the right side for his second, with a try created by the great work of Scott Murrell.
The pressure was becoming relentless, and Fax could have another after great hands brought the ball to the left edge, but James Saltonstall chose to look for a pass back inside rather than go for the line and Sheffield escaped.
The game slowed down as the half progressed with the heat taking its toll, but with a minute to go Halifax brought up 30 points with their fifth try, as QLT broke through to score his second of the game.
The start of the second half followed the tempo of the final 20 minutes of the first, with 20 scoreless minutes in which Fax came closest with a break by Saltonstall down the middle, but his pass to Johnston was judged forward.
It was Sheffield who finally broke the second half deadlock, with Matty Costello managing to stretch and ground the ball on the line from close range for the Eagles’ first points of the game.
Sheffield were buoyed by that try and put some good pressure on Fax with a number of repeat sets, but it was the visitors who got the next score as Ed Barber danced round a number of defenders and forced his way to the line for a great individual try.
Ben Johnston added further gloss to an impressive performance with four minutes remaining, stepping inside a defender and going through the gap for Halifax’s final try.
They remain in sixth place in the Betfred Championship table, but move level on points with London Broncos in fourth.
Sheffield Eagles: Makelim; Millar, Swift, Spedding, Blackmore; Thomas, Costello; Pick, Fozard, Magrin; Hames, Ashworth, P Burns.
Interchanges: G Burns, Davies, Garcia, Offerdahl.
Tries: Costello (60’)
Goals: Thomas (1/1)
Halifax RLFC: Laulu-Togagae; Saltonstall, Tyrer, Barber, Sharp; Murrell, Johnston; Fairbank, Kaye, Fleming; Butler, Grady, Grix.
Interchanges: Moore, E Morris, Maher, Jones.
Tries: Kaye (4’), Butler (7’, 20’), Laulu-Togagae (16’, 39’), Barber (69’), Johnston (76’)
Goals: Tyrer (7/7)