By Jacob Kilbride
Halifax RLFC sealed their place in the Qualifiers with a 38-6 victory over bottom side Rochdale Hornets at the MBi Shay Stadium.
Three tries in five first half minutes from Simon Grix, Jacob Fairbank and Chester Butler set them on their way, with Steve Tyrer, Kieren Moss and Ben Kaye adding further scores to complete an efficient job.
With both sides completing their sets well early on, chances were limited, with Fax going closest when Kaye was held up over the line by two defenders.
The home side started to build momentum, though, and got the platform they needed when Richard Lepori was forced into touch after taking Ben Johnston’s kick.
From the resulting scrum, Fairbank produced a fantastic offload in the tackle which allowed Grix to cross for the opener.
Tyrer nailed the conversion from in front of the posts to move into 2nd place on the all-time leading points scorers list for Halifax.
Inspired by Grix’s try, Fax were in again moments later. A penalty saw them move straight back up the field, before Fairbank turned from provider to scorer as he took Johnston’s reverse pass and barged through a gap.
Things got even better for the hosts when another try followed soon after. Ben Heaton broke the line before finding Butler on his inside, who evaded one would-be tackler and shrugged off another to get to the line.
Although Rochdale regained their composure after five minutes of madness, the best chances still came the way of Halifax. A good passing move saw Moss feed Tyrer, who was held up just over the line.
Tyrer, however, crossed a couple of minutes later with the Rochdale defence unable to halt yet another powerful drive. He converted his own effort from the touchline to put the hosts 22-0 up at the break.
Despite being in a commanding position, the second-half began in less than ideal fashion as Lewis Hatton forced his way over within three minutes of the restart for Rochdale’s first points of the game, with Tyler Whittaker converting.
Throughout the second-half, there was a noticeable increase in the number of penalties awarded, but Halifax made this count and hit back quickly, as Tyrer put over a penalty kick to extend the lead to 18 points.
Rochdale might have crossed again had it not been for some committed Fax defence, first with Elliot Morris holding up Joe Ryan, before both Hatton and Lepori were tackled a metre short following two successive penatlies under the sticks.
Fax were rewarded for their efforts almost immediately, as they carried the ball downfield and Butler burst through the defence and found Moss supporting on his inside to run in.
The hosts maintained that pressure and scored again with ten minutes to go, as Kaye crossed having made a typical run from dummy half.
Halifax had to complete more defensive work when Will Sharp was tackled in-goal, forcing a drop out after taking Danny Yates’ kick, but Halifax held firm with the powerful Joe Taira kept out under the posts on the last play.
Taira gave away a penalty with a heavy challenge on Dan Fleming, wth Tyrer adding another two points from the tee in the final minute to wrap up a great afternoon.
The full list of fixtures for The Qualifiers are set to be released this week.
Halifax RLFC: Moss; Heaton, Tyrer, Woodburn-Hall, Sharp; Murrell, Johnston; Maher, Kaye, Fairbank; Barber, Butler, Grix.
Interchanges: Morris, Moore, Jones, Fleming.
Tries: Grix (15’), Fairbank (17’), Butler (20’), Tyrer (32’), Moss (61’), Kaye (70’)
Goals: Tyrer (7/8)
Rochdale Hornets: Kay; Lepori, Cross, T Adamson, Massam; Smith, Yates; King, Whittaker, Moran; L Adamson, Mitchell, Hatton.
Interchanges: Taira, Ryan, Gregory, Tala.
Tries: Hatton (43’)
Goals: Whittaker (1/1)
Man of the Match: Chester Butler
|Last 8 Meetings|
|29th July 2018: Halifax RLFC win 38-6 at The MBi Shay Stadium|
|25th February 2018: Halifax RLFC win 26-20 at Crown Oil Arena|
|21st May 2017: Halifax RLFC win 28-2 at MBi Shay|
|26th February 2017: Halifax RLFC win 20-6 at Crown Oil Arena|
|22nd June 2014: Halifax RLFC win 42-24 at The Shay|
|18th May 2014: Halifax RLFC win 28-12 at Spotland Stadium|
|19th February 2012: Halifax RLFC win 38-6 at The Shay|
|8th July 2007: Halifax RLFC win 54-8 at The Shay|