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Friday, 24 October 2014

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Whitehaven beaten by Fax’s touch of class

THERE was no lack of effort from Haven but that extra touch of class saw Halifax home.

Fax are the best team in the Championship at exploiting a gap, and they made the most of their chances against hard-working Haven.

With so many props sidelined by injury and illness, Haven cannot at present rely on their traditionally strong area, forward power, to achieve dominance, and their more expansive game plan had the visitors stretched at times.

But with Aussie half-backs Ben Black and Luke Branighan pulling the strings, and their lightning-quick wingers Paul White and Rob Worrincy waiting to exploit any weakness, allied to a huge pack, the visitors had the answers.

Haven had the Yorkshire side on the back foot in the closing 10 minutes, searching for a bonus point, but they could have no real complaints at the final score.

The Cumbrians showed their new style on the first set of the match, two fantastic moves taking them to within a metre of the Fax line, only for prop Andy Thornley to spill the ball as he attempted a pass under pressure.

Haven had the better of the opening exchanges but were left to rue a decision not to take the easy two points on offer when Fax were penalised for interference in the tackle on troublesome prop Kyle Amor.

Instead, Black broke down the middle and Shad Royston was on hand to score, Lee Paterson converting.

The game was being played at a quick pace, and Haven lost possession a couple of times as they attempt-ed quick play-the-balls to keep Fax on the back foot.

Another break from their own half saw the visitors double their lead on 31 minutes, Stephen Bannister escaping Carl Rudd’s clutches, Royston feeding Black for the try, Paterson again adding the extras.

Haven showed they could also score long range tries six minutes later, Rudd’s fantastic pass putting the hard-working Graeme Mattinson in to space.

The hooker found Marc Jackson who put in the supporting Chris Smith in for the try.

Any impetus they hoped to gain was lost from the re-start however, as full-back Josh Veivers knocked on as he dived to collect the kick on the full. Branighan kicked through for Royston to touch down.

It was an ill-tempered half at times, and in the closing seconds, Marc Jackson was sin-binned after another flare-up.

Haven had to score first in the second-half to keep within touching distance, though it appeared the visitors had struck when White cut loose down the middle and Black completed the move.

But an eagle-eyed touch judge had spotted a knock-on early in the play.

The touch judge was in action again moments later, ruling out a Tom Philip effort as he looked to touch down Rudd’s chip to the corner.

A rare error from the superb Amor could have led to another score, but Makali Aizue, having slipped past the Haven prop, threw a wild pass with the line beckoning.

Fax did finally break through on 64 minutes, prop Said Tamghart proving unstoppable from close range. Paterson booted the score out to 24-6.

Haven had defended manfully against the odds, but they will not be happy with Fax’s final try.

They looked to have them contained in midfield on final tackle, only for Black to collect Bob Beswick’s simple chip and sprint clear.

Haven could then have caved in, but they kept plugging away, and finally got on top of the visitors.

Marc Jackson was held up over the line, and Fax were then penalised for interference as Veivers chased his attacking kick.

Fax finally cracked with Dylan Skee putting half-back partner Rudd in for a try.

Haven continued to press as they hunted a bonus point, with Royston shackled behind his line off Skee’s stab.

Howard Hill looked certain to score in the last minute as Haven attacked in the left corner, but the cover somehow got across to deny him.

Match facts

Haven: Veivers, Eilbeck, Darby, R Jackson, Calvert, Rudd, Skee, Thornley, Mattinson, Amor, Gorski, Barker, Joe. Subs: C Smith, Hill, M Jackson, Philip.

Tries: C Smith, Rudd.

Goals: Rudd 1.

Halifax: Royston, White, Paterson, Nash, Worrincy, Branighan, Black, Tamghart, Penkywicz, Maloney, Bannister, Wrench, Bowman. Subs: Aizue, Beswick, Watene, Ostick.

Tries: Royston 2, Black 2, Tamghart.

Goals: Paterson 4.

Referee: Ronnie Laughton.

Attendance: 1,140.

Star Man: Kyle Amor.

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