Whitehaven 12-36 Halifax

Whitehaven lost out in this fifth round Challenge Cup tie but earned a lot of credit for their performance against a Championship outfit.

The damage was done in the first half when the west Cumbrians trailed 24-6, and a spirited effort in the second period saw them only lose out by two tries to one.

The Challenge Cup was on display ahead of the game at the Recreation Ground with a sixth-round place at stake with Whitehaven set to face the sun in the first half.

They were soon pegged back by a 40/20 kick from Scott Murrell. In fact, Halifax went in under the posts from a Murrell pass to Mitch Cahalane on two minutes but it was ruled forward.

Generally though, Whitehaven were able to keep the visitors at arm’s length and put in a couple of good sets which took them deep into Halifax territory.

There was a scare though, when Jordan Burns sprinted across his posts to get on the end of a Murrell kick and spilled it. From the scrum, the visitors got close but finally spilled the ball under fierce Haven tackling.

When Whitehaven responded with a strong attack down the left, Jesse Joe Parker just couldn’t find Craig Calvert with the pass which went into touch near the corner flag.

The opening try came on 16 minutes when Whitehaven gave away a silly penalty on last tackle.

From there, Halifax built well and Murrell put Adam Tangata in for a close-range try which Steve Tyrer converted.

The second try came four minute later. Murrell picked out Tangata on half-way and the second-rower took on the last defender before slipping the ball inside to James Saltonstall who finished for his 11th try of the season. Tyrer converted.

But Whitehaven came back and, after a series of short jabbed kicks had come back off opposition legs, the ball was picked up by Elliot Miller who found a way through to touchdown on 28 minutes. Paul Crook converted.

Haliax responded, though, and on 35 minutes scored again out wide. After pressure under the posts when they had been stopped short, the ball was moved right and Murrell put James Woodburn-Hall over. Tyrer again converted.

It was Murrell who created the fourth try on 38 minutes. A cleverly-disguised kick left Shane Grady with a simple touchdown, Tyrer adding the extras.

Halifax should have scored from their first attack of the second half but Rob Worrincy, unmarked and with a walk in at the corner, dropped the pass.

When Whitehaven responded, Chris Taylor tried a kick for the corner to be chased by Burns, but Connor Robinson was across to run the ball into touch in goal.

Whitehaven continued to force the pace and Worrincy was then tackled behind his own line to force another drop-out but Halifax stayed disciplined in defence.

A great catch on his own line by Burns sparked a spirited Whitehaven counter attack which ended when Carl Forster lost the ball under the Halifax posts.

Then it was Whitehaven’s turn to defend when Halifax got into good position but Worrincy was held up and, when Steve Tyrer did get the ball down, it was from a double movement.

It was end-to-end and Whitehaven were standing up well to the Championship side.

The home side had another spell on the Halifax line but just couldn’t find a way through.

But Halifax did make the line on 66 minutes when Ben Kaye twisted over from close range and Tyrer added the kick.

Whitehaven had shown a lot of spirit and determination against their Championship opponents and deservedly got on the scoresheet again after 75 minutes. Steve Roper’s little kick near the line saw Parker come charging through to gather and touchdown. Crook converted.

But Halifax had the last word when Kaye dived over under the posts in the 79th minute and Tyrer added his sixth goal.

Haven: Miller, Calvert, Parker, Taylor, Burns, Roper, Crook, Shackley, Newton, Forster, Tilley, Holliday, Olstrum. Subs (all used): Holland, Dalton, Maudling, Ackerley.

Tries: Miller, Parker. Goals: Crook (2)

Halifax: Robinson, Saltonstall, Woodburn-Hall, Tyrer, Worrincy, Murell, Johnston, Boyle, Kaye, Cahalane, Grady, Tangata, Moris. Subs (all used): Barber, Reilly, Moore, Nelmes.

Tries: Kaye (2), Grady, Tangata, Saltonstall, Woodburn-Hall,

Referee: Liam Moore

Penalties: 10-8

Crowd: 636

Star Man: Jesse Joe Parker