championship: Halifax’s end-of-season charge goes on as they edged out Sheffield Eagles 21-6 to book a place in the Championship play-off semi-finals.
It left Sheffield needing to win a final eliminator game next week if they are to keep alive hopes of retaining the Grand Final crown they won last year.
After a scoreless first half the game was followed by Fax taking control and outscoring the Eagles by three tries to one.
A tense opening saw Fax’s Ross Divorty followed up his own kick and touched down but the score was ruled out by the video referee.
The arm wrestle continued with Patch Walker just held short and Michael Knowles knocked on as he went for the line.
Confusion under the Eagles posts almost saw Scott Murrell get to his chip kick but it play was pulled back for offside.
In the final minute of the half Dominic Brambani attempted a penalty from inside the Eagles half but the teams went in without a point on the score board.
Halifax broke the deadlock four minutes after the restart with Andy Bracek picking up his own kick and forcing his way over under the posts as the home defenders reacted slowly. Steve Tyrer added the goal.
Fax’s Dane Manning was yellow carded but before the Eagles could take advantage Matt Garside joined him in the sin bin for a late tackle and Tyrer extended the visitor’s lead with the penalty.
Craig Ashall edged out the margin with a drop goal but Eagles set up a dramatic finish with a try from Vinny Finigan converted by Brambani four minutes from time.
That hope died as Handforth raced in under the posts and Murrell followed up a chip kick in the final minute. Tyer added both goals.
Afterwards, Eagles chief executive Mark Aston raised doubts over the club having to leave Sheffield to find a new home after the closure of Don Valley Stadium
“We are continuing to work as hard as we can to ensure our future in the City and after reforming the club over 13 years ago it would be a great disappointment to move outside of Sheffield.”
Sheffield Eagles: Laulu-Togagae; Finigan, Yere, Armstrong, Turner; Walker, Brambani; Battye, Henderson, Stringer, Knowles, Szostak, Hirst. Substitutes: Green, Davey, Higgins, Garside
Halifax: Fieldhouse; Sheriffe, Tyler, Heaton, Reittie; Murrell, Handforth; Tonks, Craig Ashall, Davies, Manning , Divory, Adamson. Substitutes: Ambler, Bracek, Robinson, Holden.
Referee: D Merrick (RFL).