Halifax Irish 26-0 New Earswick All Blacks
Irish recorded their 11th win from 12 in the Championship in a hard fought encounter at Savile Park. Both sides agreed to play on a bone hard frozen pitch and in a very entertaining first half it was the hosts who built a 14-0 interval lead. The York based visitors blew a number of chances in the first half and it was the Irish’s ability to take theirs that was the difference between the teams.
The big Irish pack set the platform for victory as they won the duel up front with Jack Holmes, Dave Smith and Chris Geoghegan punching holes in the All Blacks rearguard. Holmes gave his side a great start when after just 5 minutes he rampaged past 5 defenders for a barnstorming try. Half back Chris Holroyd, who had a great game, couldn’t add the extras.
Moments later Holmes was over again thanks to some neat approach play from Micky Holden, however, the referee correctly ruled that the ball had not been grounded. The visitors then counter attacked in style and it took a fantastic cover tackle from Chris Rollings to deny them.
Then the Irish made them pay as Geoghegan collected a kick charge down and ran through two would be tacklers on a thrilling 40 metre dash to the line on quarter time. Holroyd’s touchline effort sailed narrowly wide.
Tony Sheard was growing more influential for the Irish and his beautifully timed pass put a try on the plate for the impressive Andy Brocklehurst on the half hour before Holroyd added the conversion.
The second half was a scrappy affair with both sides making a glut of errors and becoming indisiplined. Chris Norman and Michael Reed were linking up well and their fine work took Irish deep into enemy territory. A switch of play by Brocklehurst caught the All Blacks napping and Norman made no mistake to race over on 47 minutes. Once again Holroyd converted.
Three minutes later they were over again as that man Sheard sent Chris Moran through a gap and the powerful centre proved too strong for the closing defenders. Holroyd converted for 26-0. It looked like the floodgates would open but the All Blacks defended well and a frustrated Irish failed to find any further fluency in a dour final half hour.