Shane Grady 3, Brandon Moore, Ben Heaton, Steve Tyrer 2,
Steve Tyrer 5,
Craig Hall 2, Rhys Evans,
Jordan Lilley 3,
By Jacob Kilbride
Halifax RLFC earned consecutive victories for the first time this season as they comfortably defeated Leigh Centurions 38-18 at the MBi Shay Stadium.
Shane Grady scored a first-half hat-trick whilst further efforts from Brandon Moore and Ben Heaton saw Fax lead 28-0 at the break.
The former Super League side responded with a couple of tries from Craig Hall and one from Rhys Evans but a double from Steve Tyrer saw Fax maintained a strong lead and a earn a crucial two points over a full-time outfit and the pre-season title favourites.
Leigh dominated much of the early territory but it Fax who led after a dozen minutes.
Scott Murrell’s clever kick to the right corner was cleared by Evans, allowing Fax a scrum 10m from the Leigh line.
Fax wouldn’t waste the field position and a short-ball from returning half-back Ben Johnston found the on-rushing Grady, also returning to the starting 13, who dived to the left of the sticks.
Tyrer scored the first of five conversions from the left of the posts.
Counter-attacks looked to be Leigh’s greatest threat soon after and they were only to be denied by a couple of last-ditches as Will Sharp stopped a break away from Matty Dawson before James Woodburn-Hall denied Rhys Evans a certain try on the left wing 30m out.
Halifax maintained their momentum and scored four times in the space of 13 minutes to seal an emphatic first-half lead.
Johnston again was the provider for the second try as the scrum-half broke the line before setting up Moore who went over unchallenged.
Tyrer scored again from the kick, knocking over from an easier angle just wide of the posts.
Grady then had a second as he took a superb offload from fellow second-rower Simon Grix and dived over in the left corner.
Fax also profited down the right side as Heaton darted over from dummy-half as he found a gap under a couple of Leigh defenders to score Fax’s fourth try.
Tyrer converted both efforts from the touchline to put Fax 24 points ahead.
In the final minute of the half, Grady completed his hat-trick as some poor Leigh handling saw them lose possession in the left corner, giving Will Sharp the chance to kick through for the 28-year-old to round-off his treble.
For the first time this afternoon, Tyrer was unable to find the target with his conversion, pulling the kick just wide of the posts.
A fast start to the second-half was expected from Leigh and it duly came as after just six minutes they reduced Fax’s lead.
Moore’s pass to Sharp was misjudged allowing Drew Hutchison to intercept and tee up Craig Hall to a simple touchdown underneath the sticks.
Jordan Lilley, signed on loan from Leeds Rhinos this week, easily converted for the Centurions.
Fax rallied tremendously though with their fight-back orchestrated by Murrell who twice won Fax goal-line drop-outs with a couple of great grubber kicks.
The Blue and Whites won another four sets, mostly in part to Leigh’s poor discipline, but couldn’t capitalise with Murrell eventually making the crucial error.
The captain’s attempted chip kick only found the hands of Hall who ran from his own 10m line to under the Halifax posts for another run-away effort.
Lilley scored again from the conversion, leaving Leigh trailing by 16 points with 20 minutes remaining.
That sucker-blow didn’t knock the wind of Halifax’s sails though as they again came on strongly. An inventive play down the blind-side on the left flank caught out Leigh as Grady’s pass found Tyrer who leapt over in the corner to restore a 20-point lead.
Tyrer was unable to convert his kick from the touchline as he saw it fall wide and short.
Things got from bad to worse for Leigh though as they reduced to 12 men after Matty Dawson was shown a yellow card for dissent.
The numerical disadvantage didn’t stop the Centurions from threatening though as Rhys Evans barged over past a couple of Fax defenders in the left corner.
Lilley kept up his 100% record with the boot, bending one over from the touchline.
A late onslaught from Leigh was to be expected but it was Fax who enjoyed the final 10 minutes, finishing an outstanding display with a flourish.
Fax attacked down the left as Grady found Tyrer in space and the centre turned past Bodene Thompson and ran in unchallenged in the corner.
Tyrer scored his 18th point of the match from his touchline conversion.
Halifax RLFC: Woodburn-Hall, Saltonstall, Heaton, Tyrer, Sharp; Murrell (C), Johnston; Springer, Kaye, Murray; Grix, Grady, Jacob Fairbank
Subs: Moore, Barber, Jones, Maher
Tries: Grady (12’, 30’, 39’), Moore (26’), Heaton (34’), Tyrer (61’, 73’)
Goals: Tyrer (5/6)
Leigh Centurions: Hall, Dawson, Crooks, Mata-utia-Leifi, Evans; Hutchison, Lilley; Richards, Higham, Hansen (C), Larroyer, B Thompson, J Thompson
Subs: Hood, Acton, Patrick, Lovett
Tries: Hall (47’, 58’), Evans (66’)
Goals: Lilley (3/3)
Referee: Gareth Hewer
Hit Man: Shane Grady
Man of the Match: Ben Johnston