Sheffield Eagles slipped to a 30-10 defeat to Halifax as Mark Aston’s side recorded back-to-back defeats at the start of the Betfred Championship.
In similar fashion to their opening round defeat to Dewsbury, the Eagles had their moments but failed to take advantage of several prolonged spells of pressure against a clinical and well organised Halifax outfit.
In wintry conditions, the Eagles were dealt an added blow when Frenchman Nabil Djalout was stretchered off in the second half, as Fax ran away with the contest in the last quarter.
Director of rugby Mark Aston gave Garry Lo his first start of the season, whilst Greg Burns was also included in the 17 as James Bentley and Ilies Macani missed out.
Fax started well as the Eagles were forced to defend their line during the early stages. After two minutes the early pressure paid off as Daniel Murray, signed in the week on loan from Salford, bagged his first try with Steve Tyrer converting.
The Eagles came back into the contest and levelled when Cory Aston’s clever pass on the inside allowed Jack Ashworth a run to the line, and Oscar Thomas added the extras for a level game.
James Woodburn-Hall’s scything run through the Eagles’ defence restored the home side’s lead, with Tyrer again converting. The Eagles though will have been disappointed not to go into the break at least level, as Fax bravely defended six consecutive sets at the end of the first stanza before the visitors knocked on.
With the pitch white over following a prolonged blizzard, the home side thawed quickest as Ed Barber crashed over the whitewash after persistent pressure at the start of the second half. Tyrer converted.
There was a 10 minute stoppage following a nasty head collision in the tackle which left Fax’s Shane Grady dazed, but Eagles’ Djalout was forced to leave the field on a stretcher.
The Eagles responded to the break in proceedings giving themselves a lifeline, when Aston juggled with the ball before finally firing a short pass to captain James who crossed, but Aston’s conversion attempt sailed wide.
Fax recovered their composure and finished the game strongly with late converted tries from Murray and Dan Fleming securing the points.
Halifax: Sharp; Clare, Tyrer, Barber, Saltonstall; Murrell, Woodburn-Hall; Fleming, Moore, Murray; Grix, Grady; Fairbank. Interchange: Morris, Douglas, Kaye, Maher.
Scorers: Tries: Murray (2, 73), Woodburn-Hall (19), Barber (45), Fleming (77) Goals: Tyrer 5/5
Sheffield: Millar; Lo, Spedding, Toole, Blackmore; Thomas, Aston; Lees, Fozard, Offerdahl; James, Ashworth; Moran. Interchange: Burns, Magrin, Djalout, Pick.
Scorers: Tries: Ashworth (14), James (59) Goals: Thomas 1/1, Aston 0/1
Referee: J. McMullen