Oldham fight back to deny Halifax Panthers
Halifax Panthers suffered a narrow 16-12 loss to Oldham in a hard-fought Betfred Championship clash at Bower Fold.
The match started in fluid fashion, with both sides settling into the game, and testing their opponents’ defensive lines early on.
With 18 minutes on the clock, Halifax opened the scoring. A flowing move on the right flank led to Connor McGrath sneaking in at the corner, with Connor Robinson’s conversion ensuring a 6-0 lead.
Moments later, Oldham came back into the contest, as Tom Brierley raced over the line after an excellent offload into his path.
With the score at 6-4 to the Panthers, Halifax showed good defensive solidity, which had been lacking in last week’s home loss to Toulouse.
Two minutes before the half-time hooter, a powerful line break from Ben Kavanagh fed the on-rushing James-Woodburn Hall, who broke three tackles to run in from 30 metres out. Another Robinson conversion made the half-time score 12-4.
In the second half, Halifax were slack off the mark, and were made to pay immediately. Two penalties and a knock-on gifted Oldham promising field position, with Martyn Reilly charging through tackles to bundle over the line. The try was converted to cut the gap to 12-10.
Halifax searched for attacking field position; but were repeatedly pinned back by a dominant Oldham unit.
Halifax were solid in defence as the clock ticked down, with Kevin Larroyer, Kavanagh and Greg Worthington providing plenty of big hits and try-saving interventions.
With four minutes remaining, the Oldham pressure finally paid off. Jack Croft received the ball wide on the right; and put in a strong hand-off to drive in at the corner.
The conversion gave Oldham the lead 16-12 and it proved to be the last meaningful action of a pulsating contest.