An injury-hit York Knights fell to a 16-6 defeat away to Halifax Panthers in the Betfred Championship at The Shay Stadium.
Two Lachlan Walmsley tries in the space of nine minutes in the first half gave Halifax a 10-0 lead that was extended by Jacob Fairbank’s score early in the second period.
York, who entered the contest against last year’s third-placed outfit with 12 players out through injury, denied Halifax any further points and were rewarded for their efforts when James Glover crossed for a try in the final five minutes.
The Knights had enjoyed some early field position and won a repeat set when Walmsley produced an error from James Cunningham’s cut-out pass.
However, Jacob Fairbank’s big hit on Jordan Thompson saw the loose forward cough up possession as the visitors struggled to capitalise on the repeat set.
Halifax capitalised by scoring from a repeat set themselves after AJ Towse was unable to cleanly intercept Ben Tibbs’ pass.
Louis Jouffret’s miss-out pass put Walmsley over for a stroll in, with Joe Keyes adding the extras from the left touchline.
The Panthers once more profited from a repeat less than 10 minutes later after James Glover batted down Jouffret’s ball to James Woodburn-Hall.
Some beautiful hands from a scrum switched the ball from right to left and sent Walmsley in for his second. Keyes was wide from the tee.
Just after the half-hour, York reduced to 12 players when Cunningham was sin-binned for a late tackle on Keyes, but the Knights survived the numerical disadvantage for 10 minutes without conceding.
Halifax did add to their lead though on 49 minutes. On the back of Walmsley’s break up-field, Tom Inman put in a short kick close to the line which Fairbank grounded.
Jouffret successfully took over the kicking duties, adding the two.
Andrew Henderson’s side ensured that no further points were conceded though the Panthers did come close to a fourth try when Brandon Moore raced under the sticks, but Dan Murray’s assisting pass was ruled forward.
With three minutes left, York’s determined display was rewarded with a consolation try. Daley’s kick was charged down back into the hands of the stand-in half-back who set Oli Field on a charge through the line before kicking to the corner for Glover to ground.
The centre converted his own try to ensure the gap between the two sides was reduced to 10 points by the final hooter.
Halifax: Woodburn-Hall, Walmsley, Maizen, Tibbs, McComb, Jouffret, Keyes, Calcott, Moore, Murray, Kavanagh, Gee, Fairbank.
Subs (all used): Tangata, Pickersgill, Inman
18th Player: Saltonstall
Tries: Walmsley (15’, 24’), Fairbank (49’)
Goals: Keyes (1/2), Jouffret (1/1)
York: Brown, Towse, Glover, Harrison, Barley, Field, Cunningham, Ta’ai, Jubb, Kirby, Antrobus, Clarkson, Thompson.
Subs (all used): Michael, Daley, Teanby, Ward
18th Player: Price
Tries: Glover (76’)
Goals: Glover (1/1)
Sin-bin: Cunningham (32’)
Geoff Pryce Player of the Match in partnership with Isaac Poad Brewing: Jordan Thompson