By Stephen Ibbetson
Photo credit: Max Bolton
Halifax RLFC fell to a heavy defeat at the hands of Super League Salford Red Devils at the MBi Shay Stadium.
The visitors ran in a dozen tries in an impressive performance to make it three from three in the Qualifiers, while Fax remain without a point.
Fax had made a promising start to the game, and had repeat sets to attack the Salford line after Niall Evalds misjudged a kick and conceded a drop out, and then Ben Johnston’s kick was blocked out of play for another set, but it came to nothing.
They got the try soon after though, started by Chester Butler’s great initial break down the middle. On the next play the ball was moved wide and Ben Heaton went round the line, before getting the ball back inside to Sam Wood who just about caught it to score the opening try.
The lead lasted only three minutes though, as Robert Lui’s pressure on Johnston forced the mistake to give Salford possession and Fax then gave away a penalty. Jackston Hastings was the man to take advantage, as he found a gap in the defence and managed to stretch for the line.
From the restart Salford knocked on and Halifax had some good position to look to respond, but they couldn’t find a way through and Salford punished them.
Kris Welham won the contest in the air at the end of their set, and Lui passed outside to Ed Chamberlain to go into the right corner, with the winger also adding his first conversion with the help of the post.
Another error at the back with a kick brought the next try, as Will Sharp dropped a bomb and Josh Jones slipped Derrell Olpherts into the left corner.
A controversial penalty decision against Simon Grix led to the next score, which finished with Ben Nakubuwai going over from close range for a converted try, and they could have been in again with a great breakaway try if an attempted pass from Hastings had found its target.
They scored twice more in the final four minutes of the half to extend the lead though. A penalty for offside led to the first, with Hastings assisting with a delicious offload that allowed Olpherts to be played into the corner for his second, which Chamberlain converted.
Then in the final minute Lui broke through the defence, offloading to Chamberlain on the wing who quickly got the ball back inside to Welham to touch down. Chamberlain’s conversion attempt went wide after the hooter to put the half-time score at 30-4.
The second half didn’t start any better for Fax, as the Red Devils picked up where they had left off. Hastings was again the architect as he made a great break through the line, with Olpherts supporting him to run in for his hat-trick try, converted by Chamberlain.
Lama Tasi was the next to get on the scoresheet, powerfully busting through the tackle and driving over the line underneath the sticks for another converted try.
After brief Halifax pressure the visitors were in yet again, as Hastings slipped the ball to Junior Sa’u to power his way to the line, with the ball judged to have been grounded despite the best efforts of several defenders.
Fax managed to establish themselves back in the game for a period but the next try again went to Salford as they brought up 50 points. A penalty for holding down gave them good position, and again it was Hastings who made the difference as he took the ball and ran back inside through a gap for a converted try.
Back-to-back penalties gave Halifax a great chance to get back on the scoreboard, but strong defence just kept Butler at bay after a big drive for the line.
The visitors continued to show impressive commitment at both ends of the pitch, bringing down Will Sharp in goal to force a drop out, from which Josh Wood strolled through a gap for another converted score.
After forcing another drop out, Salford made it a dozen tries in the final minute. Sa’u did brilliantly to keep the ball in play, catching and then driving inside to go over.
Halifax RLFC: Moss; Heaton, Wood, Butler, Sharp; Murrell, Johnston; Fleming, Kaye, Baldwinson; Tangata, Grady, Grix.
Interchanges: Maher, Moore, Cooper, Fairbank.
Tries: Wood (9’)
Goals: Grady (0/1)
Salford Red Devils: Evalds; Olpherts, Welham, Sa’u, Chamberlain; Lui, Hastings; Murray, Wood, Tasi; Jones, McCarthy, Flanagan.
Interchanges: Burgess, Nakubuwai, Burke, Lussick.
Tries: Hastings (12’, 64’), Chamberlain (19’), Olpherts (23’, 35’, 44’), Nakubuwai (27’), Welham (40’), Tasi (49’), Sa’u (54’, 79’), Wood (71’)
Goals: Chamberlain (7/12)