Catalans boost survival hopes with Halifax win

The Catalan Dragons recorded a vital victory in West Yorkshire to keep alive their charge for Super League survival, defeating Halifax by 24 points to nil. Halifax started the game brightly but were unable to take their chances on the Dragons line in an ultimately uneventful Qualifiers encounter.

Halifax began the game lively, with James Saltonstall going close before being bundled into touch and Heaton being held up over the line following a good tackle by Brayden Wiliame. The Dragons conversely looked devoid of confidence after a series of recent poor results.

Momentum seemed to be with the Yorkshire outfit, with most of the game being played in the Catalans half, the visitors did have an early chance to snatch the lead, but Vincent Duport could not take in Luke Walsh’s cross field kick.

The game came to life however midway throughout the first half after Scott Murrell was flattened late by Greg Bird, resulting in a yellow card being issued to the Dragons captain. Fax wasted the opportunity though, with Saltonstall’s grubber evading everyone and skipping dead.

Despite their poor start, Catalans did take the lead on the half hour mark through a scrappy Louis Anderson try. Halifax were penalised 30 metres from their own line, with Walsh electing to kick for goal. The kick missed, however the resulting set gave the Dragons crucial field position, and a cross field kick was fumbled by Ed Barber, allowing Anderson to pounce on the loose ball and touch down. The conversion was successful, giving the visitors an unlikely 6-0 advantage.

The try seemed to give a boost to the faltering Dragons, who doubled their lead 5 minutes later. A slick offload by Jason Batieri sent Justin Horo through a gap, with the forward finding Myler in support to evade the full back and score. A second Walsh conversion meant the visitors lead by 12.

The score line seemed a tad harsh on Halifax, who commanded the game early on, however an inability to convert chances into tries meant that they returned to the sheds with a two try deficit to overturn in the second half.

Catalans needed a strong start to the second half to defend their lead, and they produced this through a well worked Wiliame try. A quick cut out pass saw Lewis Tierney with the ball in space, with the full back racing away and finding Wiliame in support to extend their lead to 18 points after only 3 second half minutes.

The game was played with a feisty intensity, with various scuffles going on throughout the second half. Tempers boiled over as the game entered the final quarter, with both Vincent Duport and Ben Johnston sent to the sin bin for handbags after a penalty was awarded.

Following good play in the build up, the Dragons seemingly put the game to bed through a Fouad Yaha try in the corner. A Halifax penalty saw them fail to find touch, with Catalans shifting the ball to the left wing for Yaha to cross for his side’s 4th try of the afternoon. Walsh added the extras from the touchline to push the visitors to 24-0 with less than 15 minutes remaining.

Yaha thought he’d scored his second in the dying stages, however it was chalked off after it was judged that Will Sharp had been tackled in the air, meaning the game ended with the Dragons claiming a crucial victory keeping them in the hunt to stay in Super League.