Rugby League: Action hero Rowley

Halifax 34 London Broncos 14
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The Independent Online
THE Halifax and England hooker, Paul Rowley, rescued a girl from drowning on his way to last night's match, so it was perhaps to be expected that he would prove too slippery for London. Rowley leaped into a swollen river near his Bolton home to save the 12-year-old and then performed lesser heroics as his side put last week's defeat at Leeds behind it.

Showing no ill effects from his impromptu dip, Rowley set up Halifax's first try after nine minutes with a superb pass to Karl Harrison. Although Harrison was stopped before the line by a brave tackle from Wes Cotton, Daio Powell was there to go over from acting half.

Rowley also supplied the pass for Richard Marshall to go through some execrable defence for his first try for the club midway through the half.

A clever reverse pass from Chris Chester to Gary Mercer then paved the way for Halifax's third try, scored by Martin Moana, and just before half- time Rowley was involved twice in a move ended with Harrison taking Gavin Clinch's pass and selling an outrageous dummy to the London full-back, Luke Goodwin.

With Clinch landing all four conversions, London, whose only points had come from Terry Matterson's early penalty, were as far away as ever from the result that could turn their dismal season around.

Rowley had more torment in store for them. Apart from the revitalising effect of his swim, Halifax also put a few ripples in his peace of mind by signing another international hooker, Wales's Martin Hall, this week. Neither Hall nor any other hooker in Super League could have matched the run from deep in his own half that brought Rowley a wonderful try to cap his man-of-the-match performance.

John Bentley weighed in with another for Halifax, before a woefully disjointed London got their first try midway through the second half, Chris Ryan taking John Timu's pass.

The wings, Cotton and Rob Smyth, both also claimed late tries for the Broncos, but that did little to disguise what an inadequate display this had been. Their new signing, Shaun Edwards, was not fit to make his debut. His return cannot come soon enough.

Halifax: Gibson; Bentley, Bouveng, Cowell, Tuilagi; Chester, Clinch; Harrison, Rowley, Marshall, Mercer, Gillespie, Moana. Substitutes used: Bloem, Clark, Hobson, Baldwin.

London: Goodwin; Smyth, Toshack, Ryan, Cotton; Timu, Chapman; Young, Matterson, Dunford, Beazley, Retchless, Hill. Substitutes used: Carroll, Higgins, Best, Chesney.

Referee: R Connolly (Wigan).

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