Halifax ERA 18 Wakefield Trinity 16
Halifax ERA edge top of the table clash | 26/01/2018
HALIFAX ERA maintained their 100% record for the season as they inflicted a first league defeat of the campaign on visitors Wakefield College.
That looked far from the likely outcome at the interval as the visitors led 16-0, a fully deserved lead after 40 minutes of competitive play from both sides.
(Report by Paul English)
It looked as though Halifax were going to open the scoring when Seb Blanco shot at the Wakefield line only to be held up by the visitor’s defence after four minutes.
In the same set the home side crossed through winger Luke Safa only to see referee Cameron Worsley rule that the ball had not been grounded properly.
It didn’t take the so far unbeaten Wakefield side long to show their class, scrum-half Stephen Gibbs stepping and dummying his way through the Halifax defence for a nice solo score. Halfback colleague Connor Bailey added the conversion.
Bailey then sent winger Harry van der Waal away on the left but he was ruled to have obstructed the home defence on his journey and was called back.
Wakefield hit Halifax hard as Bailey sent unnumbered centre Iain Oakley powering over down the same flank. Bailey again added the conversion.
A break by Nathan Newbould looked fruitful for the visitors but his pass to centre Jack Croft was ruled forward.
At the opposite end – in a by now rare Halifax attack – Archie Andrade was held up.
Referee Worsley blew for half-time on 35 minutes only to hear cries from the sidelines that College Rugby League is played over 80 and not 70 minutes. He promptly carried on with the visitors making that decision pay with an unconverted try in the corner from Nico Devittoris.
When 40 minutes finally arrived Wakefield trotted to the dressing rooms with their spirits high thanks to a 16-point advantage over their hosts.
Nine minutes into the second half came a response from the hosts with a smart, slick move from a scrum seeing Andrade send Safa over in the corner. What followed next was a bizarre moment.
With Rourke Woolley running in to take his conversion the Wakefield players started to move with their physio unfortunately running across the sight line of the Halifax kicker. The Kick drifted wide with referee Worsley having no option but to order it be retaken. Woolley obliged with a beautiful touchline conversion.
Wakefield looked to have added a further try through Croft only to see the effort ruled out.
But an enthused Halifax side were now carrying the game to their visitors with hooker Blanco forcing his way over under the posts – Woolley adding the conversion to narrow the visitors’ advantage to four points.
Wakefield then had hooker Lewis Teale sin binned for using his knees in the tackle and five minutes later their unnumbered sub Todd Bethill was shown a red card for lifting an Halifax player above the horizontal. In the pushing and shoving that followed Halifax’s Titus Gwaze was shown a yellow card.
Halifax, with a one-man advantage, were now in the ascendency and looked to have level only for Woolley see his try in the corner ruled out.
It was by now, with under ten minutes remaining, a tense affair.
And, it was the home side who were to claim victory when Brad Clarkson got his hand onto a grubber kick to score by the posts leaving Woolley a relatively easy though tense conversion that successfully kicked.
Halifax claimed the bragging rights in this long awaited meeting of the two leading College sides but with a rematch scheduled for this coming Wednesday (January 31) in Wakefield another thrilling encounter is on the cards.
HALIFAX ERA: 1 Finley Hickey; 2 Luke Safa, 3 Archie Andrade, 4 Myles Harrop, 5 Rourke Woolley; 6 Jordan Paga, 7 Ethan Egerton-Sharp; 8 Jack Stevenson, 9 Seb Blanco, 10 Joslin Landu, 11 Brad Clarkson, 12 Jack McMillans, 13 Titus Gwaze.
Subs: 14 Daniel May, 15 Jake Samociuk-Barnes, 16 Luke Doyle, 20 Dylan Harley-Poulton.
Tries: Safa (49), Blanco (55), Clarkson (74) Goals: Woolley 3/3
Sin bin: Gwaze (67) – running in
Wakefield College: 1 Owen Hughes; 2 Nico Devittoris, 3 Jack Croft, – Iain Oakley, 5 Harry Van der Waal; 6 Connor Bailey, 7 Stephen Gibbs; 8 Jacob Jones, 9 Lewis Teale, 10 Yusuf Aydin, 11 Nathan Newbould, 12 Harry Dodd, 13 Billy Westerman.
Subs: 14 Darrell Tassi, 15 Moris Kamano, 16 Jordan Schofield, – Todd Bethill, 18 Callum Hudson, 19 Arnydas Serkia, – Cam Lees.
Tries: Gibbs (8), Oakley (15), Devittoris (39) Goals: Bailey 2/3
Dismissed: Bethill (67) – dangerous play
Sin bin: Teale (62) – knees in tackle
Referee: Cameron Worsley