Halifax 30 Batley Bulldogs 22: Shay fire alarm evacuation fails to deny Halifax second spot finish

HALIFAX clinched second place in the Championship after a hard-fought home win, and Barrow's loss at Dewsbury booked them a play off tie at table-toppers Featherstone next month.

The first half was barely five minutes old when The Shay's new 5m East Stand was evacuated after a fire alarm, delaying play for almost half an hour before the all-clear was given.

When things did get back underway, the match lacked its earlier intensity, but it was the home side who roused themselves quicker, putting the visitors under sustained pressure.

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Batley looked to have survived, only for some ferocious defence to jolt the ball free and create an easy score for the Halifax centre Jon Goddard.

And the home side stretched their lead as the half hour approached, Shad Royston's long break creating the position for substitute Sean Penkywicz to plunder a close-range score.

Batley broke their shackles once, when the wing Johnny Campbell set off down field, but the cover converged on supporting half back Gareth Moore, the former Leeds junior who had a one-match loan spell at The Shay at the beginning of 2009.

The Bulldogs finally got themselves off the mark a minute before the break, with Campbell picking off what looked like a scoring pass almost on his own goalline and racing the length of the field to touch down.

Moore missed again and the Bulldogs fell further behind within seconds of the restart, Royston scoring between the posts for Halifax and Paterson making it 16-4 with the kick.

Batley's response was immediate, Paul Handforth sending hooker Kris Lythe over and Moore converting for 16-10. Paterson's converted try on 50 minutes pushed the score out to 22-10, but that gap lasted a matter of seconds, Campbell scoring his second and Moore keeping Batley within a score at 22-16.

But Paterson struck again 12 minutes from time, and kicked the conversion and a penalty, to give Halifax breathing space at 28-16. Moore's late score gave Batley a potentially significant bonus point in the race for a play-off berth.

Halifax: Royston; Paterson, Goddard, Nash, White; Branighan, Black; Maloney, Beswick, Ostick, Bannister, Wrench, Larder. Substitutes: Penkywicz, Cherryholme, Watene, Holroyd

Batley: Preece; Campbell, Griffin, Maun, Brown; Handforth, Moore; Smith, Lythe, Hesketh, Walton, J. Gallagher, Lindsay. Substitutes: T. Gallagher, Toohey, Tootill, Martin

Referee: J Leahy (Dewsbury).