Steve Tyrer, Ben Kaye, Shane Grady,
Steve Tyrer 3,
Bastien Canet, Joe Bretherton,
Mark Kheirallah 3,
By Stephen Ibbetson
Halifax RLFC are on the verge of a place in the Qualifiers after a dramatic 19-14 victory over second-placed Toulouse Olympique at the MBi Shay Stadium.
Halifax established a 13-6 after an hour’s action but Toulouse fought back to lead with just seven minutes left.
But, Shane Grady came up with the crucial try in the dying minutes to seal a massive two points for Fax who now know that victory over Rochdale next weekend will seal a place in the Qualifiers.
Fax made a great start with the first try coming inside just six minutes.
After Chester Butler came close and Ben Johnston was held up, Scott Murrell chipped the ball to the left corner and Steve Tyrer rose to claim a try that he also converted.
Toulouse responded well though, as Jonathon Ford played a short pass to Bastien Canet, who ran a good line to cut through the Fax defence. Mark Kheirallah added the extras to level the scores.
The home side had the lead back at the mid-point in the half in a move began by a Tangata on half-way before Johnston was again held up.
But, Fax weren’t to be denied, Ben Kaye scooting over from dummy half, again Tyrer.
Kaye was the hero at the other end as well, saving a try when Charles Bouzinac put Sam Rapira through, with the Fax hooker brilliantly managing to hold the forward up.
By this point, Halifax led by six points but missed the opportunity to make it eight when Tyrer put wide a penalty goal effort, shortly before the break.
Fax had the best chance of an error-strewn start to the second half, as Barber looked to have gone over on the back of a penalty but lost the ball as he tried to ground.
It was past the hour mark before the next points were scored. Having missed one moments previously, Murrell slotted a one-pointer after a great Johnston break deep into Toulouse territory.
Fax were two scores in front but the match turned on its head in the following five minutes.
From the restart they knocked on and Barthau’s grubber forced a drop out, from which Joe Bretherton went over as Tangata jumped the line and left a gap.
Moss then dropped the ball from a kick, with an offside Halifax player picking up to concede a penalty. Kheirallah knocked the ball between the posts, and the visitors were in front for the first time.
With time running out Fax needed a hero, and that man was Grady. He ran a good line to get on the end of Johnston’s pass and break through the defence, and he had the legs to get around the final defender as well and stretch for the line to score the biggest try of the season.
They still had to hold on for the final six minutes, and it went down to the wire as they defended their try-line right to the final whistle. It was only when Toulouse knocked on with ten seconds to go that the win was safe.
Halifax RLFC: Moss, Saltonstall, Tyrer, Butler, Sharp; Murrell,Johnston; Tangata, Kaye, Fleming; Barber, Grady, Fairbank.
Interchanges: Morris, Grix, Moore, Maher.
Tries: Tyrer (6’), Kaye (20’), Grady (73’)
Goals: Tyrer (3/4)
Field Goals: Murrell (62’)
Toulouse Olympique: Kheirallah, Centrone, Marguerite, Ader, Maurel; Ford, Barthau; Bretherton, Marion, Puech; Canet, Mika, Boyer.
Interchanges: Hepi, Rapira, Bouzinac, Seguier.
Tries: Canet (12’), Bretherton (64’)
Goals: Kheirallah (3/3)
Man of the Match: Brandon Moore