Match Report – Halifax RL 42-16 Sheffield Eagles

Sheffield failed to follow up an impressive victory over Toulouse last weekend as they fell to a heavy 42-16 defeat against Halifax at The Shay.

Halifax opened an eighteen-point lead thanks to tries from Adam O’Brien, Scott Murrell and Ben Johnston. The Eagles did close the gap before half-time when Scott Wheeldon, who spent ten minutes in the sin-bin, powered over.

However, Halifax maintained control after the break with James Saltonstall crossing for a second-half hat-trick alongside tries from Luke Ambler and Steve Tyrer. Sheffield did score twice in the closing stages through Ben Blackmore and Duane Straugheir.

Wheeldon was sent to the sin-bin in the first half following a trip while dual-registration player Dayne Weston spent ten minutes on the sideline in the second half after giving away back-to-back penalties.

Halifax opened the scoring inside the opening five minutes as Adam O’Brien, who signed on a one-month loan from Huddersfield in midweek, burrowed his way over from close-range. Steve Tyrer converted.

The Eagles came close on a couple of occasions but Scott Wheeldon was soon sent to the bin for tripping following a quick Halifax tap restart.

The hosts immediately took advantage and extended their lead just before the twenty-minute mark when Scott Murrell’s short-ball put Jacob Fairbank through. The loose-forward returned the ball to Murrell who went in under the posts. Tyrer converted.

Minutes later Halifax were in again as O’Brien jumped from hooker before Ben Johnston crossed unchallenged. Tyrer converted.

However, in the closing stages of the first-half Wheeldon made amends for his sin-bin by crashing over to get the Eagles back into the game before the interval. Brown converted.

Unfortunately for the Eagles they started the second-half slowly and James Saltonstall took advantage of some quick hands out wide after just three minutes. Luke Ambler powered his way over just a few moments later. Tyrer converted Ambler’s try but failed to add the extras from Saltonstall’s.

Halifax’s dominance continued as Saltonstall crossed for a second following a move to the blind-side from a scrum. Tyrer converted. With twenty minutes remaining Halifax wrapped the game up when Tyrer bundled his way over out wide.

Sheffield didn’t lie down however as Dane Chisholm created an overlap which allowed Ben Blackmore to finish well in the corner. Chisholm was again the creator as his short-ball put Duane Straugheir over with five minutes left.

But the last laugh went to the hosts as Saltonstall took advantage of a loose pass from the Eagles to score his hat-trick in the final minute of the game sealing a 42-16 victory for the hosts.

The Eagles host Batley Bulldogs at the Beaumont Legal Stadium on Sunday 26th February while Halifax travel to Rochdale Hornets.

Halifax: Sharp; Saltonstall, Tyrer, Woodburn-Hall, Worrincy; Murrell, Johnston; Boyle, O’Brien, Cahalane; Barber, Grix, Fairbank.

Interchanges: Morris, Wilkinson, Ambler, Lannon.

Eagles: Chisholm; Lo, Yere, Whiteley, Blackmore; Brown, Minchella; Wheeldon, Fozard, Weston; James, Hope, Burr.

Interchanges: Straugheir, Trout, Scott, Harper.

Referee: Chris Kendall. Touch Judges: H. Neville & J. Jones. Attendance: 1241.

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