Rugby League: Eagles' intelligence questioned by angry coach

Halifax Blue Sox 18 Sheffield Eagles 16

Halifax welcomed their new coach, John Pendlebury, with a first win of the season, but they had to sweat for it throughout a sometimes scrappy but always absorbing struggle at Thrum Hall yesterday.

John Schuster has won so many games for Halifax with his kicking that it is churlish to say that this was one they won despite him. His miss from an easy position at Wigan denied Halifax a draw last week and he managed only one from six attempts.

In the end, those omissions were outweighed by Sheffield's mistakes in the second half, which led their coach, Phil Larder, to describe them as "one of the thickest sets of players I've ever been involved with."

Sheffield committed enough blunders to justify both that uncharitable description and the full scale roasting Larder gave them at full time. The one thing he could not fault was their effort.

During the first half it seemed their commitment might be enough to swing the game their way, as they led through tries from Keith Senior and John Lawless, a former Halifax player, plus three goals from Mark Aston against Halifax tries from Simon Baldwin and Fereti Tuilagi.

But Schuster kicked his only goal early in the second half and Martin Moana then exploited some Sheffield hesitancy to skirt around their defence for a fine individual try.

By that time, Aston was in the sin bin following a scuffle with Mike Umaga and he was only just back on the field when Martin Pearson sent in Baldwin for a match-clinching second try.

An Aston penalty brought Sheffield within two points, but late attacks from Martin Wood and Whetu Taewa that could have brought a winning try came to nothing.

Pendlebury was making no great claims for the assurance of the victory. "But it is was important for confidence that we got the right result today," he said.

With that confidence and four more home matches in a row, Halifax can still turn their start to the season into a most encouraging one. As for Sheffield, Larder seemed to feel it will need intensive education or brain transplants.

Halifax Blue Sox: Umaga; Tuilagi, Schuster, Amone, Bouveng; Pearson, Parker; Harrison, Rowley, W Jackson, Baldwyn, M Jackson, Moana. Substitutes used: Clarke, Gillespie, Chester, Skerrett.

Sheffield Eagles: Stott; Taewa, Pinkney, Senior, Garcia; Doyle, Aston; Broadbent, Lawless, Laughton, Carr, McAllister, Wood. Substitutes used: Mycoe, Morganson, Edmed, Dixon.

Referee: K Kirkpatrick (Warrington).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Under the skin: Sarah Kane in May 1998
theatreThe story behind a new season of Sarah Kane plays
Arts and Entertainment
Preening: Johnny Depp in 'Mortdecai'
filmMortdecai becomes actor's fifth consecutive box office bomb
Sport
Bradford City's reward for their memorable win over Chelsea is a trip to face either Sunderland or Fulham (Getty)
football
News
Lars Andersen took up archery in his mid thirties
video
Voices
Focus E15 Mothers led a protest to highlight the lack of affordable housing in London
voicesLondon’s housing crisis amounts to an abuse of human rights, says Grace Dent
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operations & Logistics Manager

£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...

Recruitment Genius: GeoDatabase Specialist - Hazard Modelling

£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...

Recruitment Genius: Compressed Air Pipework Installation Engineer

£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Coordinator - Pallet Network

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project