Rhys Williams 2, Alex Walker, Ben Evans,
Kieran Dixon 2,
Kieren Moss, Shane Grady, Jacob Fairbank,
Steve Tyrer 3,
By Jacob Kilbride
Halifax RLFC came agonisingly close but ultimately short as they suffered a narrow 20-18 defeat away to London Broncos.
After 50 minutes, London were 14-0 up, with a couple of Rhys Williams tries and an Alex Walker score but a spirited comeback, with efforts from Kieren Moss and Shane Grady, saw Fax trail 14-12 with a dozen minutes remaining.
Ben Evans pulled the Broncos eight points clear again though late on with Jacob Fairbank’s finish in the dying seconds proving to be only a consolation score.
Fax fall out of the top four, dropping a couple of places to fifth, but are only two points behind second-placed Toulouse, who they face next week at the MBi Shay Stadium.
Similarly to last week’s fixture against Featherstone, Halifax were forced into constant goal-line defence from the outset, although dissimilar to that clash, Fax conceded first.
After winning a penalty, London had field position deep in Fax territory and profited as Williams was the beneficiary of a couple of missed tackles, finding room to touch down in the left corner, although Kieran Dixon couldn’t convert.
Williams was again instrumental in London’s second score a dozen minutes later when he took a catch on his 30m mark before dancing around a couple of defenders and sending Walker through for an easy finish. This time Dixon easily converted.
Halifax were competitive throughout the contest but couldn’t breach the London line prior to the interval as both Tyrer and Shane Grady were unable to finish kicks in-goal.
London were quick out of the blocks from the restart and were further ahead when Williams gleefully touched down a brilliant offload from Jay Pitts on the line.
Dixon almost made amends for his missed conversion when he raced past a couple of tacklers but his final pass to Jarrod Sammut was intercepted.
Fax’s sprits weren’t broken though and they staged a remarkable comeback to move just two points behind.
Moss maintained his record of scoring in every match as he spotted a gap on the right side to score for the sixth time in five matches.
With a dozen minutes left, Grady then charged through from a Ben Johnston short ball, with Steve Tyrer converting both efforts to put scores at 14-12 to the home side.
The momentum seemed to be firmly with Fax but Scott Murrell knocked on from the restart and after conceding a penalty, Ben Evans had the field position to reestablish the eight-point advantage as he crashed over. Dixon added the extras.
The resilient Halifax showed their character though and fought until the final hooter, with Fairbank’s close range finish and the subsequent Tyrer goal in the last minute.
It proved too late to change the result but put a fairer look to the scoreline, in a performance typified by hard-work and determination.
Fax now have the chance to put their top four bid back on track with a couple of home matches to finish the regular season, facing second-placed Toulouse and bottom side Rochdale in the next two weeks at the MBi Shay Stadium.
London Broncos: Walker, Dixon, Hellewell, Kear, Williams; Pewhairangi, Cunningham; Battye, Peliessier, Evans; Pitts, Hindmarsh, Davis
Interchanges: Spencer, Ioane, Harrison, Sammut
Tries: Williams (13’, 47’), Walker (25’), Evans (72’)
Goals: Dixon (2/3)
Halifax RLFC: Moss, Saltonstall, Tyrer, Woodburn-Hall, Sharp; Murrell, Johnston; Tangata, Kaye, Fairbank; Grady, Butler, Grix
Interchanges: E Morris, Moore, Barber, Maher
Tries: Moss (50’), Grady (67’), Fairbank (79’)
Goals: Tyrer (3/3)