Halifax ERA 70 Hopwood Hall 12
1st Premier Division fixture of 2017/18 ends with a big victory for Halifax ERA | 04/10/2017
PRE-MATCH talk of playing the conditions as much as the opposition were soon dismissed as the rain eased and a dominant opening quarter saw Halifax race into a 28-point lead inside those 20 minutes.
(Report by Paul English)
Hopwood arrived on the back of a convincing 48-4 victory over Bishop Burton a week earlier whilst the Elite Academy had an excellent preparation for their league opener with a two-match tour to France.
Within a couple of minutes Titus Gwaze correctly had a try ruled out by Super League match official Chris Kendall after losing the ball in the act of scoring. That handed possession to the visitors but when they lost the ball in midfield Myles Harrop romped away for a superb solo score. Scrum-half Ethan Egerton-Sharp added the first of his nine conversions.
A high kick then caused confusion in the visitors defence with Gwaze beating both the opposition and teammate Joslin Landu to score.
Harvey Williams broke a tackle on the right to get his name on the scoresheet and although Tyler Dupree fumbled a pass from a scrum on the Hopwood line he regained his composure to power over. Then, when the Rochdale side were outfoxed by another high kick, halfback Jordan Paga was on hand to cross as that 28-nil lead had given the Halifax side an unbelievable start to their campaign.
Given the conditions it was no surprise that handling was difficult at times and when Hopwood gained possession and territory they forced a goal line drop out from their hosts. They made it count with a try from dummy-half Brad Hulme.
A three-man Halifax kick chase forced another error and when fullback Finley Hickey skipped inside and then passed out wide winger Dakota Whylie romped over.
Hopwood forced another goal line drop out and then made the home side pay for conceding a penalty with scrum-half Cole Connolly sending in Ryal Dalton. Both of the visitors tries were converted by Connolly to leave them 32-12 in arrears at the interval.
Halifax left the Rochdale side in no doubt that they were to be in for an equally torrid second half as Dupree went on a solo run from a tap penalty to score.
Williams grabbed his second score after the Elite Academy kept up the onslaught and after Hickey had been held-up on the right the ball was moved to the left for Whylie to score his second try.
Williams went one better after being put away by Egerton-Sharp to skip around the visiting fullback for his hat-trick. Egerton-Sharp then crossed himself after an excellent midfield run from Harrop.
Substitute Brad Clarkson touched down after Landu had been halted short and then Paga crossed from the left in the closing stages to wrap-up an emphatic victory for the Elite Academy.
HALIFAX ERA: 1 Finley Hickey; 2 Ronan Sylvester, 3 Harvey Williams, 4 Myles Harrop, 5 Dakota Whylie; 6 Jordan Paga, 7 Ethan Egerton-Sharp; 8 Jack Stevenson, 9 Seb Blanco, 10 Joslin Landu, 11 Sam Smith, 12 Tyler Dupree, 13 Titus Gwaze. Subs: 14 Luke Safa, 15 Brad Clarkson, 16 Rourke Woolley, 17 Dylan Harley-Poulton.
Tries: Williams (10, 46, 57), Dupree (14, 41), Paga (17, 80), Whylie (27, 54), Harrop (4), Gwaze (8), Egerton-Sharp (64), Clarkson (73). Goals: Egerton-Sharp 9/13
HOPWOOD HALL: 1 Asa Rogers; 2 Kyle Bragan, 3 Harvey Mann, 4 Matty Powell, 5 Jack Lowe; 6 Dec Slicker, 7 Cole Connolly; 15 Eamon Duffy, 9 Brad Hulme, 10 Mikolay Pluskota, 11 Tez James, 12 Ben Austin, 13 Ryal Dalton. Subs: Jake Butterworth, Elisa Kiera, Jordan Shaw, Danny Watmough.
Tries: Hulme (21), Dalton (31). Goals: Connolly 2/2
REFEREE: Chris Kendall.