Both sides suffered defeats in the last round of Kingstone Press Championship matches but which one will get back on track this weekend at The Shay?
Last Time Out
Halifax travelled to Leigh Centurions with hope of ending their highly impressive unbeaten streak. For a time Halifax had Leigh right where they wanted them; on the back foot and losing. But, Leigh aren’t unbeaten for nothing, and they came back to take the win by 22-14. Halifax were 10-6 up at half-time after tries from Scott Murrell and Ben Heaton had relinquished Liam Kay’s early score for Leigh. Heaton notched his brace on the 45th minute and an upset was well and truly on the cards. Greg Worthington and Tommy Goulden both crossed the whitewash for Leigh as they retook the lead before some feisty action ensued which left the latter stages of the match to be played 10v10. Jamie Acton and Tom Armstrong were sent their marching orders for the hosts, as were Steve Tyrer and Andy Bracek for Halifax whilst Kurt Haggerty of Leigh and Mitch Cahalane of Halifax both visited the sin-bin. A Bob Beswick try in the last few minutes sealed a well-fought victory for the Centurions, in more than one sense of the term.
Whitehaven played host to James Lowes’ Bradford Bulls side who were starting the day in second place. The Cumbrians lost out to Bradford by 32-16, but they more than held their own during the tie. At one point in the second half, the score was 16-16 and an upset, similar to what was happening at Leigh v Halifax, was on. Bradford went into the sheds at half-time with a 16-10 lead after a brace from Adrian Purtell and a single from Lee Gaskell. Whitehaven’s tries came courtesy of Scott McAvoy and Connor Holliday. James Newton levelled proceedings on the 50th minute but Danny Addy crossed the whitewash for the Bulls to retake the lead on 66 minutes. A five minute double from Danny Williams sealed the win for the former Super League side, an heroic effort from Haven but just not enough in the end.
One of Halifax’s most consistent performers this season has been Ben Heaton, who started the season out of favour with Richard Marshall but the centre wanted to stay at the club and show his worth. His second try against Leigh typified his style, one that is powerful and hard to stop when closing in on the try line. He will go up against Connor Holliday this weekend, and the Whitehaven centre scored his first ever professional try in the last fixture against Bradford. It’ll be interesting to see how the former amateur player deals with Heaton, who is bang in form for an Halifax side that have eyes on a top four push.
Both teams will come into this match with a bit of confidence after giving their best shots against the top two teams in the division. Halifax have home advantage in this one, and Cumbrian teams always have the tag of being one of the worst travellers in the league. James Coyle’s side will be wanting to dispel of that myth, but it’d take a good performance for them to do so – Halifax by 16