Pontefract New College 0 Halifax ERA 36

Strong defensive effort sees Halifax ERA keep a clean sheet in 2nd win of Premier Division | 11/10/2017

HALIFAX continued their fine start to the College League season with an emphatic victory at Pontefract with fullback Fin Hickey grabbing three tries.

(Report by Paul English)

This was certainly a game of two halves. During the first half the Academy showed strength, determination and skill to cross for five unanswered tries. The second was soon marred by a torrential downpour but the Halifax side battled away to overcome both the elements and a stubborn Pontefract side to add two further tries.

Straight from the kick-off Halifax forced their hosts into a handling error and benefitted from a goal-line drop out. With Joslin Landu, Titus Gwaze and Tyler Dupree driving in hard and Seb Blanco showing plenty of flair from dummy half it was a surprise that it took the visitors until the sixth minute to open their account.

They did so after Landu had been stopped inches short and then, on the next tackle, Gwaze crashed over. Scrum-half Ethan Egerton-Sharp added the conversion.

Blanco showed plenty of zip from dummy half to keep the Halifax side on top as the game progressed and fullback Fin Hickey was another who was having a major influence on proceedings. He was stopped short on another Halifax attack before the ball was moved right for winger Ronan Sylvester to score an unconverted try.

Pontefract conceded their third try just two minutes later. Centre Myles Harrop made the initial surge. Second-row Dupree continued the good work before handling on for Hickey to touch down for a try converted by Egerton-Sharp.

A 16-point lead in 13 minutes was a fair reflection of the game though the home side did go close through Brandon Stead who was held up by the Halifax defence.

With Jack Stevenson powerful in the middle, and Sam Smith and Harvey Williams dominant on the right it was no surprise when the Academy crossed for a fourth try as Hickey grabbed his second.

Williams had another powerful surge for the visitors and with Jordan Paga linking well another try appeared to be on the cards before possession was lost when referee Stuart Marshall ruled that a pass had travelled forward.

However, it didn’t take long for a fifth try to come for the visitors with Dupree linking superbly allowing winger Dakota Whylie to show his pace as he outwitted the home defence to score a try from distance. Egerton-Sharp’s conversion saw Halifax lead 26-0 at the break.

Although the wind was blowing across the open arena at the College it did aid the home side at the start of the second half and they took full advantage to pin the Academy deep in their own half. Moments later torrential rain added to the problems faced by the visitors, conditions certainly to the benefit of the home side.

Try as they might they couldn’t breach an outstanding Halifax defence who were on the back-foot for the a full 15 minutes. Wave after wave of New College attacks were repelled by an Halifax side in which coaches Lee and Gareth Greenwood handed debuts to Daniel May and Jack McMillan.

Dylan Harley-Poulton and Brad Clarkson also appeared from the bench for the Halifax side who, as the conditions eased slightly, extended their advantage with two further tries.

Firstly Hickey kicked through to allow Whylie to grab his second and then Harrop found the fullback in support to round off the scoring with the final try which was converted by Landu.

All told this was another fine performance, teamwork really shone through during a difficult second half with the defensive effort being particularly noteworthy.


NEW COLLEGE PONTEFRACT: 1 Tom Crossland; 2 Joe Turner, 3 Harvey Addis, 4 Oliver Greensmith, 5 Nigel Dungare; 6 Tom Wilmes, 7 Josh Thornton; 8 Callum Wood, 14 Harry Archdale, 10 Brad Fox, 11 Harrison Gallagher, 12 Rhys Bonser, 13 Josh Farr. Subs: 9 Jordan Oxley, 15 Brandon Stead, 16 Decland Hobson.


HALIFAX ERA: 1 Finley Hickey; 2 Ronan Sylvester, 3 Sam Smith, 4 Myles Harrop, 5 Dakota Whylie; 6 Jordan Paga, 7 Ethan Egerton-Sharp; 8 Jack Stevenson, 9 Seb Blanco, 10 Joslin Landu, 11 Harvey Williams, 12 Tyler Dupree, 13 Titus Gwaze. Subs: 14 Daniel May, 15 Brad Clarkson, 16 Jack McMillan, 17 Dylan Harley-Poulton.


Tries: Gwaze (6), Sylvester (11), Hickey (13, 23, 69), Whylie (33, 57). Goals: Egerton-Sharp 3/6, Landu 1/1.


REFEREE: Stuart Marshall.


Men of the Match: 3 Seb Blanco, 2 Titus Gwaze, 1 Finley Hickey


ELSEWHERE Wakefield College continued their unbeaten start to the season with a 48-4 victory at Bishop Burton, the east Yorkshire College having lost their first two games by the same scoreline. Next week the Halifax Elite Rugby Academy travel to Loughborough who put up a brave performance in Barrow as they lost by six points to the Furnace Raiders. Wakefield are without a game in the next round of fixtures so a win (by any margin) for Halifax at Loughborough would see the Elite Rugby Academy move to the top of the league table.


Other Results – Oct 11: Bishop Burton 4 Wakefield College 48; Furnace Raiders 34 Loughborough College 28.


Current positions: Wakefield Pld 3-9pts, Halifax ERA 2-6, Furnace 3-6, Hopwood 2-3, Loughborough 2-0, Pontefract 2-0, Bishop Burton 2-0


Next Fixtures – Oct 18: Loughborough v Halifax ERA, Furness v Bishop Burton, Hopwood Hall v Pontefract.