Steve Tyrer 2, Shane Grady, Simon Grix, Conor McGrath,
Steve Tyrer 3,
Rhys Williams, Elliot Kear, Will Lovell,
Jarrod Sammut, Kieran Dixon,
By Jacob Kilbride
Halifax maintained their pursuit to the top four with a valuable 26-16 victory over London Broncos in a thrilling contest at the MBi Shay Stadium.
A spurt of three tries in the final seven minutes of the first-half saw Fax come from behind to lead 20-10 at the break before both sides exchanged scores in the second period.
Steve Tyrer scored tries in both halves whilst scores from second rowers Shane Grady and Simon Grix was followed by a sensational finish from Conor McGrath.
Victory for Fax means they now sit just two points behind fourth-placed London and have won four of their last five in the league at the Shay.
After a cagey first ten minutes, London showed their attacking qualities with a brilliant breakthrough try as a fantastic offload, whilst under the challenge of two defenders, from Ben Hellewell teed up Rhys Williams for a score in the corner.
Jarrod Sammut converted with a fine kick from the touchline.
Halifax were reduced to 12 men when Brandon Moore shown a yellow card for dissent but Fax’s defence proved a tough nut to crack, defending three straight sets having conceded some contentious penalties in their own half.
Whilst London failed to capitalise on their penalty calls, Halifax did as, after gaining a penalty on their 40m mark, Ben Johnston ran to the corner on the last tackle before setting up Tyrer to barge over in the corner.
Tyrer was unable to convert from a tough wide angle.
Tempers flared midway through half and both sides were without their starting half-backs as Ben Johnston and Apirana Pewhairangi were sin-binned for their involvement in a brawl.
London increased their lead before the half-hour mark with a sucker blow of a breakaway score. Kieran Dixon pounced on Will Sharp’s loose pass 10m from his own line before Alex Walker found Elliott Kear in space to go over in the right corner.
Sammut couldn’t replicate his previous touchline goal, dragging the kick wide.
Halifax’s response was stunning though and three tries in the final seven minutes of half saw them overturn to the deficit.
Firstly, Grady latched onto a Scott Murrell short pass for his fourth try in five matches this season before, in the next attacking set, fellow second rower Grix powered through the line and ran over from 30m out.
Tyrer scored the first of the conversion but, much to his dismay, was ruled to have missed the second. The centre made amends with a penalty goal a couple of minutes before the break.
Fax had another as the half-time hooter sounded as Murrell’s great kick wide was incredibly taken and grounded in the right corner by McGrath who somehow managed to stay in-touch.
The conversion from Tyrer was put well wide but Halifax took a healthy 20-10 lead into the break.
Halifax began the second-half in the same way that they’d ended the first and bolstered the lead after just five minutes of the restart.
Once again, Johnston was the provider as his short ball set up Tyrer to score a second with a one-handed finish on the line.
Tyrer converted his own score to put Fax 16 points ahead.
Fax were in the ascendency and McGrath thought he had a second when he dived over acrobatically in the corner but the officials ruled that he’d gone in touch.
The hosts continued to dominate proceedings and came close on the opposite flank when James Saltonstall was just unable to take a deft short pass from Tyrer a metre from the line.
London hit back after Will Lovell charged over following a couple of back to back penalties, before Sammut’s conversion put the Broncos just ten points behind with as many minutes remaining.
The capital club were almost in again when Pewhairangi’s offload to Alex Walker was knocked on as the full-back for a free run in.
But, Halifax defended strongly until the finish, seeing out another home victory and moving a step closer to the top four.
Halifax RLFC: Sharp, McGrath, Tyrer, Butler, Saltonstall; Murrell, Johnston; Douglas, Moore, Maher; Grady, Grix, Jacob Fairbank
Subs: E Morris, Jones, Fleming, Green
Tries: Tyrer (22’, 45’), Grady (33’), Grix (36’), McGrath (40’)
Goals: Tyrer (4/6)
Sin Bins: Moore (16’), Johnston (25’)
London Broncos: Walker, Dixon, Kear, Hellewell, Williams; Pewhairangi, Sammut; Spencer, Cunningham, Bienek; Lovell, Pitts, M Davis
Subs: S Davis, Battye, Butler, Adebiyi
Tries: Williams (9’), Kear (29’), Lovell (68’)
Goals: Sammut (2/3)
Sin Bins: Pewhairangi (25’)
Referee: Scott Mikalauskas