IT was a return to winning ways for Simon Grix's Halifax Panthers as they put last week's nilling at the hands of Leigh Centurions behind them and secured two points in West Cumbria, scoring 18 unanswered second half points to turn around a halftime deficit for their ninth victory in their last 10 games. 

The Panthers got off to the perfect start being able to collect their own kick off as Nikau Williams allowed the ball to bounce and was then collected by Brandon Moore.

From the resulting set the ball was spun wide right into the hands of Ben Tibbs who crossed in the corner. Joe Keyes able to convert from out wide. 

The home side put the disappointing start behind them and were on top soon after as they reduced the deficit to just two points as Andrew Dawson crashed over from short range to get a rare try for the prop forward.

Nikau Williams converted to level the scores and it remained on a real knife edge throughout the encounter.

The heavens opened shortly after Dawson's try and it seemed to be the home side who dealt with the conditions and a slippery top surface.

Australian winger Lachlan Walmsley was on his first return to West Cumbria since breaking through in his debut season in the UK with Whitehaven last season and was on the end of some ferocious tackles from his fellow countryman Ryan King to make sure he remembered the return.

King went through ferocious hitter to try scorer as he was on the end of Karl Dixon pass following a number of consecutive sets on the Panthers line.

King seemed to be wrapped up with four visiting defenders around him but the second rower who is Haven's leading try scorer this season was able to get his arm free and ground the ball for the West Cumbrians to take the lead. Williams converted once again.

The home side continued to be on top but just before the half time break the Panthers seemed destined to cross the line.

This was following a break from Joe Keyes who got away from two would-be Haven tacklers in Nikau Williams and Cain Robb.

He passed the ball inside to the supporting James Woodburn-Hall but fantastic combined cover defence from Andrew Bulman and Dion Aiye put the pressure on the Jamaican international and when trying to ground the ball dropped it. 

The second half started with referee Mike Smaill putting an incident on report following Jake Braldey needing treatment in what looked like a potential crusher tackle.

The second half was a completely different contest compared to the first half with Halifax remaining on top throughout and scoring three converted tries to secure the points and continue their fantastic run of form.

The first try of the half came through Woodburn-Hall as he made up for not being able to ground the ball towards the end of the first half by being on the shoulder of Ben Kavanagh as he broke through the Haven defence.

The ball came inside right to Woodburn-Hall who went over untouched to score. Keyes maintained his 100 per cent record with the boot to level the scores.

Then came the game's defining period of play.

A Liam Cooper offload bounced and was collected by the Panthers. This resulted in the visitors having several consecutive sets but first of all it was the returning Lachlan Walmsley touching down in the left hand corner on the end of a looping pass out wide. Keyes converted from the touchline.

Following the kick off Halifax had hold of the ball for the next five minutes and ended it with what ended up being the game's final try.

On the back of several goal line drop outs the pressure on the Haven line eventually told and Dan Murray powered over under the sticks and despite the best efforts of the home side they couldn't further unlock the visiting defence.


29 Davy Litten
5 Andrew Bulman
4 Will Evans
31 Marcus Walker
2 Dave Eccleston
6 Karl Dixon
7 Nikau Williams
17 Andrew Dawson
24 Jacob Hookem
10 Tom Walker
11 Ryan King
25 Perry Singleton
16 Tom Wilkinson

12 Liam Cooper
13 Dion Aiye
20 Jake Bradley
27 Cain Robb

Dawson (9), King (27)

Williams 2/2


1 James Woodburn-Hall
2 Lachlan Walmsley
3 Greg Worthington
22 Ben Tibbs
5 James Saltonstall
24 Louis Jouffret
7 Joe Keyes
16 Will Calcott
9 Brandon Moore
10 Dan Murray
11 Ben Kavanagh
18 Matty Gee
8 Adam Tangata 

13 Jacob Fairbank
17 Ed Barber
26 Joe Martin
31 Kevin Larroyer

Tibbs (2), Woodburn-Hall (46), Walmsley (57), Murray (62)

Keyes 4/4

Penalty count: 5-2
Half-time: 12-6
Referee: Mike Smaill
Attendance: 856