Halifax aiming for top five in higher section
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.
Luke Sturman claims lineout ball for Halifax against Sheffield Oaks Pictures: Bruce Fitzgerald
Elliot Hoyle in the clear at Ovenden Park last Saturday