Rugby League: Hanley in hurry to harry Halifax

Leeds. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42

Halifax. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

LEEDS overcame a dreadful start last night to play their most fluent rugby of the season and register a much-needed win over an alarmingly porous Halifax. It will lift some of the gloom created by a slide into the bottom three of the First Division, but Leeds were fortunate to find opposition which allowed them to recover from their early uncertainties.

There were intimations of a death wish in the way Leeds began, with Andy Gregory's long pass in his own 25 just eluding Graeme Hallas's fingertips. Within four minutes, Halifax were ahead, after Paul Dixon was penalised for a swinging arm on Brent Stuart.

Halifax were the sharper side, but there was no excuse for the way Leeds conceded the first try. Alan Tait gave up possession with a shoddy play-the-ball and the defence took dummies from Gary Divorty and Mark Bailey to allow the latter to score.

Bishop kicked his second goal but Leeds recovered with a well- worked try by Dixon, who slid over after exchanging passes with Craig Innes. The power of Kevin Iro, bursting on to Garry Schofield's pass, then brought Leeds level.

Although still struggling for rhythm, Leeds scored a classic try to go ahead, Schofield kicking through after Innes's pass had released him down the right. Carl Gibson could not complete the job, but James Lowes kept the ball alive and Dixon arrived to force his way over, Schofield adding the goal.

Hallas put down another potential interception, this time from Schofield, as the game continued its merry way. Not so merry for Roy Southernwood, who was carried off at half-time with a deep gash in his thigh, nor, a minute after the restart, for Halifax as a whole, when they opened up to let Iro pound through for his second.

Gregory had thrown some weird and wonderful passes earlier in the evening, but he found the perfect ball for Ellery Hanley to score the try that put Leeds firmly in control. They were thoroughly enjoying themselves by now and Schofield's pass sent Innes over to bring up the 30 and Iro's break then set up Hanley, who completed his hat-trick five minutes from time.

Leeds: Tait; Fallon, Iro, Innes, Gibson; Schofield, Gregory; Worrall (Anderson, 30), Lowes, O'Neill, Dixon, Mercer, Hanley.

Halifax: Cooper (Sharp, 63); Bentley, Hallas, Bailey, Preston; Bishop, Robinson; Harrison, Southernwood (Perrett, 40), Fieldhouse, Stuart, Divorty, Lord.

Referee: P Gilmour (Workington).