Halifax finished their Yorkshire Four campaign on a disappointing note as they lost 45-0 to Mosborough, writes Grayham Smith.
Halifax have enjoyed a very successful season but this game, having no bearing on league position or status, did not have the motivational element which has been so much in evidence, particularly in the period from October last until mid-March.
Not so for the hosts who were clearly well up for the game which had been marked by them for a special commemoration of a past player.
They set about the contest with a will and a forceful way which could not be matched, at any point, by a lacklustre Halifax side. Halifax would point to the fact that the team was lacking a significant number of experienced players but no great challenge was mounted beyond a few brief assaults on the Mosborough line.
The cause was not helped by a number of injuries. The normally aggressive play of Richard Booth in the back row was missing from the 15th minute as a result of a back injury and it became evident that young Ben Maxwell was not playing his usual prominent role with a knee injury.
Luke Sturman was having a positive effect on the game until he also succumbed, first to a back injury and second to a finger in the eye which meant that he could not continue.
Halifax were outweighed in the pack and conceded possession on numerous occasions. The three-quarters consequently had no real chance to demonstrate any attacking potential. Paddy Ryan stiffened the middle with his no nonsense tacking.
However, Mosborough preferred to take “route one” with a full frontal attack in and around the forwards.
As they also ruled the line out for the most part, the game became a real test of the Halifax resolve.
Captain Tony Curtis tried hard to rally his men and Clive Smith in the second row from his introduction in the second half put in great effort, improving the line out and with some good support play.
On the sloping home pitch tries came regularly improved by some effective goal kicking. The score at half time was 26-0 with Halifax playing down the slope and it may be regarded as a minor achievement that Halifax raised their game to restrict the home team on their pitch to a further 20 points in the second half.
Supporters will be looking for an improvement on Wednesday evening when, at Brownberrie Labe they take on Yarnbury in the semi -final of the Aire-Wharfe Plate competition.
There was a highly contrasting picture at Copley where the Dukes were welcomed by Rishworthians and both sides contributed to an excellent game played in a competitive spirit.
Halifax took the game 36-5 and were well served up front by the excellent Luke Hanby with good support from Benji Brian and very effective contributions from Fergus and Louis Emmerson and Academy member Joe Gallagher.
The Dukes have one more game to round off a season which has been most enjoyable and has seen a significant advance in skills and enthusiasm.