Rochdale Hornets 20-26 Halifax RLFC
Sunday 25th February 2018, 15:00pm
Championship - Round: 4
Rob Massam, Patrick Moran, Harvey Livett,
Harvey Livett 4,
Ben Kaye, Will Sharp 2, Simon Grix, Ed Barber,
Steve Tyrer 3,
HORNETS SHOW HEART IN HALIFAX DEFEAT
Rochdale Hornets carried their second-half performance from Monday night into their clash with Halifax on Sunday, as they went close to getting a first victory of the 2018 season.
They started off the better team and took an 8-6 lead into the break, but couldn't hold on as a Will Sharp double inspired the visitors to a second half comeback.
It certainly felt like 'one that got away' as their opponents punished a couple of errors, however being on the wrong end of a 13-5 penalty count didn't help their cause.
Richard Lepori, Dave Allen and Toby Adamson all made their Hornets debuts, with Toby King coming in on dual-registration. They replaced injured trio Gary Middlehurst, Matty Hadden and Lewis Hatton, along with Dec Kay who was rested following a bruising encounter against Dewsbury Rams.
All three debutants impressed, but it was Harvey Livett who picked up the club's man of the match, as he orchestrated the attack following Lewis Palfrey being forced from the field after 25 minutes with an injury. The Warrington Wolves youngster also caused problems with his kicking, managed to land all four of his conversion attempts and crossed for a late try.
The home side defended their line brilliantly, especially in the first half as they kept their opponents scoreless until the 38th minute.
To the bemusement of the crowd, Rochdale were denied a chance to score early on when Deon Cross intercepted a pass from Halifax on his own try-line. With only field in front of him, the referee pulled play back and awarded a scrum to Hornets for a forward pass, denying them a free-play.
On eleven minutes they did get their breakthrough though, as King sent Rob Massam over on the left edge to open up a 6-0 lead.
A last tackle penalty gave the hosts the chance to add another two points, as Livett made no mistake with the boot.
Lepori kept the Rochdale line intact with a brilliant cover tackle when Jacob Fairbank broke the line, as the fullback chopped the loose forward down.
Then, Palfrey left the field clutching his arm before Earl Hurst produced a try saver of his own, denying Steve Tyrer close to the line.
With Hornets looking as though they would go into the break with a clean sheet, Fax came up with a killer blow two minutes from half-time as Ben Kaye ducked under a tackle from dummy-half. Tyrer's conversion made it a two point game as the teams headed into the sheds.
The second 40 started perfectly as a perfectly weighted pass from Allen at the line sent Pat Moran over untouched, opening up a 14-6 lead for the hosts.
Then, on 51 minutes, Sharp crossed for his first off the back of a penalty as he collected a pass out the back and raced through a hole in the defence.
James Woodburn-Hall was placed on report for what looked like a crusher tackle, with no penalty awarded, and soon after Halifax were in again. Cross allowed a bomb to bounce and Simon Grix knocked the ball ahead of himself, before regathering and picking up a simple score.
Massam then missed a huge opportunity to field a penalty kick before it found touch, but he wasn't alert enough as it dropped in front of him and bounced out of play. Off the back of that, and 12 minutes after his first score, Sharp chimed into the line again to cross in the opposite corner and give the away side a six point lead
Tyrer tried to add another two points, but drilled a penalty goal attempt below the crossbar from 30 metres out.
Rochdale began to probe with Joe Taira breaking the line, but Danny Yates was clattered and halted immediately as he received the prop forward's offload.
Livett was next to break, before Murrell forced the ball free, and after saving a try he laid one on for Ed Barber up the other end, as the backrower sealed the victory for Halifax with two minutes left on the clock.
There was still time for Livett to force his way over a minute later, after a short kick-off was regathered, however it proved to be nothing more than a consolation effort.