Halifax 42 Sheffield Eagles 16: Saltonstall triple inflicts heavy loss on Eagles

James Saltonstall
James Saltonstall
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Halifax opened their Championship account at the third attempt with winger James Saltonstall scoring three tries as they thrashed Sheffield 42-16 at the Shay.

Richard Marshall’s side hit the front inside four minutes, on-loan Adam O’Brien sneaking out of dummy half and diving over for Steve Tyrer to convert.

Halifax doubled their advantage on 19 minutes, Jacob Fairbank sending Mitch Cahalane charging through and the front rower flicking a reverse ball for Scott Murrell, who scored under the posts.

Tyrer was on target again and was lining up his third conversion six minutes later after the backline attacked from deep and O’Brien again picked the lock to send Ben Johnston racing behind the posts.

The Eagles finally got themselves off the mark on a rare visit downfield, prop Scott Wheeldon profiting from back to back penalties to plough under the posts. At 18-6, the first score of the second half looked crucial, and it went Fax’s way.

Worrincy made a long burst downfield and the ball was whipped right, where James Woodburn-Hall put Saltonstall over by the flag, Tyrer hitting the post with a kick that left the home side leading 22-6.

After that, it was largely one way traffic.

Prop Luke Ambler ploughed over from close range, Saltonstall cruised in at the corner after standing up Garry Lo and Menzie Yere and Tyrer twisted in from close range as the scoreline stretched out to 38-6.

Sheffield grabbed a score back through Ben Blackmore, and then another late effort from Duane Straugheir, but the game belonged undeniably to the home side, a point underlined on the final play as Saltonstall ran away to score his third.

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

Eagles: Chisholm; Lo, Yere, Whiteley, Blackmore; Brown, Minchella; Wheeldon, Fozard, Weston, James, Hope, Burr. Substitutes: Straugheir, Trout, Scott, Harper.

Referee: C Kendall (England).