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?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Installation Manager

£35000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitment Company...

Tax Investigations Manager/Senior Manager

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits: Cameron Kennedy Recruitment: This rapidl...

Scrum Master - Southampton, Hampshire - Excellent Package

£40000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited:...

Senior Scrum Master - Hampshire - £47k

£47000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: Key skil...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice