Rugby League: Davies drives Warrington on

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The Independent Online
Halifax . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

Warrington. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

THE journeymen of the Warrington side will never begrudge Jonathan Davies his thicker wage packet while his flashes of genius make all the difference to their chances of winning rugby league trophies.

Davies's interventions have had much to do with Warrington's leadership of the Premiership. In yesterday's fourth- round match, two glorious second-half tries kept them in the Silk Cut Challenge Cup, when Halifax could well have dumped them out.

The score was 12-12 when the previously subdued Davies burst through Halifax's defensive line from 35 yards out. Threading his way through an imperceptible gap between the cover and the right touchline, he scored in the corner.

He seemed to be even more securely marked when he took the ball for his second and decisive score 11 minutes from time. A dummy put Gary Lord on his back as Davies's stunning acceleration took him clear and allowed him to double around the sticks to leave himself a simple goal.

'Only one person in rugby league could have scored that try,' Mike Gregory, his team- mate, said.

Davies was more matter of fact: 'The gaps opened up and I went through. That's what I'm paid to do.'

The shrewd distribution of Michael Hagan had helped Halifax into a lead that should have been more emphatic. Graeme Hallas and John Bentley scored from his promptings and both Paul Round and Gary Divorty went close with long- range efforts before Warrington staged their fight-back. It took some good fortune to put them back on terms. There was a suspicion of a knock-on before Robert Myler's try; and Round and Hagan were harshly penalised for what the referee John Connolly regarded as a spear tackle.

Once they were level, however, the stage was set for Davies. His contribution was worthy of winning a cup let alone a place in the last sixteen.

Halifax: Tries Hallas, Bentley, Bishop; Penalty Schuster; Goals Schuster, Bishop. Warrington: Tries Myler, Davies 2; Penalties Davies 3; Goals Davies 2.

Halifax: Lay; Bentley, Schuster (Wilson, 70), Hallas, Preston; Hagan, Bishop; Harrison, Southernwood, Fieldhouse (Lord, 51), Round, Perrett, Divorty.

Warrington: Penny; Forster, Bateman, Davies, Myler; Ellis, Mackey; Teitzel (Jackson, 6), Thursfield, Phillips (Hilton, 37), Darbyshire, Gregory, Shelford.

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).