Rugby League: Powell turns game for Halifax

Castleford 16 Halifax 36
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The Independent Online
BY Ian Laybourn

Castleford 16 Halifax 36

HALIFAX STAGED an impressive second-half revival to consolidate third place in Super League and put paid to any lingering play-off hopes for the resurgent Tigers at Wheldon Road yesterday.

Halifax trailed 16-10 at half-time after being outplayed for long periods but took control with four tries in a 20-minute spell.

Powerful second-half performances from the forwards Gary Mercer and Des Clark wore down Castleford and two flashes of inspiration from Daio Powell in the centre turned the game Halifax's way.

First Powell burst out of Jon Wells' tackle to race 40 metres and set up the position from which David Bouveng scored and then sent over his winger, Fereti Tuilagi, for a 51st-minute try that put the visitors in front for the first time.

It was a result that hardly looked possible in the first-half when Castleford, with confidence sky high from superb wins over Warrington and Leeds, produced some high-class rugby.

They started as they left off against Leeds, with Richard McKell powering his way through a three-man tackle to cross for a second-minute try.

Halifax were frequently on the back foot in the first-half but twice demonstrated clinical finishing to level the scores.

From their first attack Gavin Clinch, their influential scrum-half, worked an opening for his half-back partner, Chris Chester, to slice through and then combined with Chester to put Des Clark over.

Castleford remained in charge when Jason Flowers raced on to a superb kick to the corner from Brad Davis to touch down and then off-loaded from a two-man tackle close to the line for Richard Gay to score.

Tries early in the second-half from Bouveng and Tuilagi put a new complexion on the game and Martin Moana emphasised Halifax's growing confidence when he re-gathered his own kick to touch down.

The game finished on a one-sided note with Richard Marshall and Clinch adding further tries in the final quarter.

Clinch illustrated his value to the Halifax side when he took over the goal-kicking from Martin Pearson, who missed with all but one of his five attempts, and kicked three from three.

Castleford: Gay; Flowers, Maloney, Vowles, Wells; Orr, Davis; Sampson, Russell, McKell, M Smith, Schick, Harland. Substitutes: Ford, Sykes, Critchley, P Smith.

Halifax: Bloem; Tuilagi, Powell, Pearson, Bouveng; Chester, Clinch; Harrison, Rowley, Skerrett, Clark, Mercer, Moana. Substitutes: Marns, Baldwin, Marshall, Hall.

Referee: J Connolly (Wigan).