Hal­i­fax aim­ing for top five in higher sec­tion

Halifax Courier - - Sport -

Hal­i­fax player-coach Giles Hether­ing­ton wants his side to be among the top hand­ful of clubs in York­shire Three next sea­son.

The once-mighty Ovenden Park club took a first step back up the league lad­der last Satur­day when they clinched pro­mo­tion be­hind Wetherby in York­shire Four with a 480 home win over rel­e­ga­tion fighters Sh­effield Oaks.

Ex-Heath stand off Hether­ing­ton, who was hop­ing to be con­firmed as coach for a sec­ond sea­son this week, said: “We are set­ting our as­pi­ra­tions to be a top four or five teams next sea­son. We are not go­ing up just to make up the num­bers.

“We have got strength in depth and the club is go­ing for­ward as a whole.

“We are aware that there is po­ten­tial­lyleague re­struc­tur­ing to fol­low so we want to stay away from the bot­tom half. It is a big task ahead.”

Only a bonus point was needed last week­end but Hal­i­fax were determined to put on a show for their sup­port­ers.

They even­tu­ally did that, play­ing with more free­dom once man of the match Tony Curtis had scored their fourth try just af­ter the break.

The blind side flanker scored two tries while open side Andy Har­ris was also out­stand­ing and crossed the white­wash.

The game started at a good pace with Oaks show­ing they meant busi­ness, but the con- di­tions meant that Hal­i­fax’s run­ning rugby looked sure to pay div­i­dends.

They took the lead af­ter eight min­utes when a set move re­leased El­liot Mercer to cross for an un­con­verted try.

Con­stant pres­sure pro­duced a sec­ond try, scored by Toby Turner and con­verted by cap­tain Richard Cole.

Oaks picked up their game and had a spell on attack un­til a turnover gave Hal­i­fax the op­por­tu­nity to link for­wards and backs and Jack Ryan’s score made it 19-0 at half time.

It was mission ac­com­plished soon af­ter the restart when Curtis scored from a rolling maul. Joe Gal­lagher showed flair and panache to run the length of the pitch to score and Har­ris went over for a well-ex­e­cuted try.

Curtis’s long-range dash and Gal­lagher’s easy goal put more day­light be­tween the teams and Cole’s last-minute try wrapped things up.

Hether­ing­ton added: “We got what we ex­pected from Sh­effield Oaks - a dif­fi­cult test.

“But we al­ways felt se­cure, be­cause we never looked like con­ced­ing, and once we had got the bonus point try it be­came an eas­ier af­ter­noon.”

It was a fi­nal ap­pear­ance for king-sized prop Dean Cot­ton, who is re­tir­ing, but Hal­i­fax’s sea­son isn’t quite over.

Hether­ing­ton said it looked as if Hal­i­fax would have to make a sec­ond at­tempt to play their game against Wens­ley­dale at Ley­burn this week.

They got as far as Wetherby eight days ago be­fore the coach suf­fered a flat tyre which could not be quickly re­paired.

York­shire Two

Luke Stur­man claims li­ne­out ball for Hal­i­fax against Sh­effield Oaks Pic­tures: Bruce Fitzger­ald

El­liot Hoyle in the clear at Ovenden Park last Satur­day

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