South Wales Scorpions were outplayed but not disgraced on Saturday as they were knocked out of the Carnegie Challenge Cup in a high-scoring encounter by Championship leaders Halifax.
The scoreline may not reflect it, but it was one of the best efforts that the Scorpions have put in over recent weeks, their completion rate was certainly better than against North Wales Crusaders on Easter Monday.
Scorpions took the lead after just two minutes when David James sprinted through a gap in the Halifax defence with Scott Leatherbarrow converting but once Halifax got going, they proved why that they are the best side outside of Super League.
The home side had the chance for a try back but Welsh international Ross Divorty dripped Lee Paterson’s albeit high pass when he was fairly clear on goal.
But when Scorpions gave a penalty away for an infringement of the play-the-ball, Halifax worked their way upfield to strike back and Callum Casey ran in under the sticks. Paterson converted.
The home side then took the lead on 18 minutes when Craig Ashall went in from close range, before going from scorer to creator when he set up Halifax’s third, Anthony Bowman diving over following a slick pass. Paterson converted both.
Straight from kick-off, Fax got their fourth from Paterson on the wing, converting himself.
And following back to back sets for the Scorpions, they got a try back with a well-worked try. Scott Leatherbarrow chipped perfectly and Rodney Peake stole the ball from his marker to ground under the sticks. Leatherbarrow converted.
But Halifax addressed the balance less than five minutes later when Paul White finished off a fine set of six. Paterson goaled.
Joe Chandler quickly followed him over and Paterson kept up his 100% record to put the Scorpions 36-12 down at the interval.
They took less than two minutes to extend their lead at the start of the second half with Handforth diving to score from their first attack which Paterson converted.
Bowman scored his second and Halifax’s eighth from kick-off to put the tie well beyond the Welsh side. Paterson’s kick hit the post.
Scorpions didn’t give up, didn’t lie down and got a try back when Steve Parry sprinted over from dummy half. Leatherbarrow goaled.
But centre and former Celtic Crusaders Super League star Steve Tyrer stormed through to score Halifax’s ninth try as soon as they’d regained the ball.
Once again Scorpions worked their way upfield and they were rewarded with another try back with Wigan dual registration debutant Jack Murphy scoring in the corner and Leatherbarrow’s kick going wide.
Straight away, Scorpions scored again. Greg Burke created the try and David James ran through for his second going in under the sticks. Leatherbarrow converted to bring the score back to 50-28.
Halifax put their feet down and were rewarded with a well-worked try with Tyrer completing the move for his second that Paterson goaled.
The home side continued to score tries at ease as the lower division side tired. Sean Hesketh, Dave Manning, Makali Aizue and Sean Penkywicz all scored quick fire tries, the first three were converted by Paterson. For Welsh international Penkywicz it was his 100th Halifax try.
White completed the rout in the final minute which Paterson goaled.