Halifax battle back for a point

Rugby League: Workington Town 18 Halifax 18
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The Independent Online
The two sides without a win in Super League shared their first points of the season in a thrilling encounter on the Cumbrian coast last night.

A draw was a fair result after Workington, greatly improved by their two new Australians, Tony Smith and Brad Nairn, had dominated the first half, but had faded in the face of Halifax's desperate fight-back in the second.

Halifax had started off well enough, pouncing on a dropped ball by John Allen for John Schuster to send John Bentley in for the opening try. From that point, though, the first half was virtually all Workington. Their defence was solid and they showed a healthy appetite for feeding on Halifax's mistakes.

Tries from Leigh Smith, Mark Wallace and Wayne Kitchin were reward for their ability to keep the ball alive and three goals from Dean Marwood gave them a handsome 14-point lead which remained intact at half-time when Halifax had a Simon Baldwin touchdown disallowed on video evidence.

After Schuster's penalty had brought Halifax two points closer, that video link broke down, leaving the referee, Robert Connolly, to seek verbal confirmation from a cameraman before denying David Fraisse a try that would surely have clinched it for Workington.

Instead, a break from the Halifax hooker, Paul Rowley, started a move that ended with Bentley going over for his second try. The substitute, Graeme Hallas, was then denied a try by the narrowest of margins when his elbow brushed the touchline as he forced the ball down. But with Workington tiring, Halifax edged closer with a Schuster penalty.

Four minutes from the end, it finally came, through Michael Jackson, Schuster kicking the goal to bring the scores level and time running out as Halifax tried to manoeuvre the position for a match-winning drop goal.

Workington Town: Campbell; Wallace, Fraisse, Allen, L Smith; T Smith, Marwood; Armstrong, McKenzie, Phillips, Holgate, Palmada, Nairn. Substitutes used: McGuirk, Riley, Kitchin, Livett.

Halifax: Umaga; Bentley, Schuster, Tuilagi, Akoku; Briggs, Dean; Harrison, Rowley, W Jackson, M Jackson, Perrett, Baldwin. Substitutes used: Moana, Amone, Hallas, Highton.

Referee: R Connolly (Wigan)