Halifax Panthers made it a night to remember at the Shay as they booked their spot in both the 6th Round of the Challenge Cup and Semi Finals of the 1895 Cup with a stunning 26-0 victory over near neighbours Bradford Bulls.

It was a performance worthy of the BBC cameras as Fax raced into an unassailable 22-0 lead at half time with Louis Jouffret the star of the show, with James Saltonstall also scoring his 100th career try in the process after the break.
Saltonstall was the only change for the Panthers as Simon Grix kept the faith with the same side that dispatched York in the League 6 days previous. It paid dividends as Fax looked slick, confident and threatening both with and without the ball.

It took 5 minutes for Fax to start the scoring, Jouffret putting Matty Gee through a gap to break through and go close. On the next tackle, the Frenchman utilised the overlap on the short side to dummy his way over on the right flank.

Joe Keyes converted for an early 6-0 lead which the Panthers never looked like losing. This, because the pride in their defence was clear to see.

Forcing errors or holding the Bulls players up over the line, this was a Fax side putting as much pride into their defence as their attack. This laid the platform for Jouffret to score once more. The plaudits for this one though have to go to Jacob Fairbank and Will Calcott, their brilliant interplay in midfield gave the supporting Jouffret chance to claim the final offload to race under the posts to the delight of the healthy home crowd. Keyes’ boot made it 12-0 and the Panthers playing with their tails up.

Scorer turned provider next as Jouffret, who was breaking through the Bulls defence at will, dummied through another gap to race away. Only a great Jack Walker cover challenge stopped the French International claiming his hattrick, however Jouffret somehow managed to stay alive and not held, feeding the ball to Ben Tibbs who released Saltonstall to finish in the corner.

Keyes was off target from the tee for the first time but he was converting another Fax try 90 seconds later as the Panthers went back to back. A brilliant Adam Tangata offload set James Woodburn-Hall racing up field, the fullback was stopped but it gave Fax the territory to strike this time on the left. Jouffret’s perfectly weighted pass gave Jake Maizen the space to go around his opposite number to score. 22-0 up at the break and the game was practically over.

Bradford came out and responded in the 2nd but when Saltonstall finished off in the corner from a cut-out ball from Woodburn-Hall 10 minutes after half time, 26-0 was the score line the Bulls were never going to overcome.

The rest of the game was about protecting that zero against Bradford’s name and although the Bulls attack wasn’t as clinical as it was in the same fixture on Easter Monday, Fax managed to front up and stop a couple of ex Fax player Chester Butler’s crash over attempts at the line to keep Bradford pointless and put a real statement out for the rest of 2023. Halifax Panthers 26-0 Bradford Bulls.

Halifax Panthers
Woodburn-Hall, Walmsley, Maizen, Tibbs, Saltonstall, Jouffret, Keyes, Calcott, Moore, Murray, Kavanagh, Gee, Fairbank
Subs: Inman, Lannon, Tangata, McComb
Tries: Jouffret (3,16) Saltonstall (34,48) Maizen (37)
Goals: Keyes 3/5

Bradford Bulls
Walker, Blackmore, Myers, Gill, Qareqare, Holmes, Patton, Rogers, Lilley, Scurr, Appo, C Butler, Thompson
Subs: R Butler, Foster, Johnson, Jowitt
Tries: N/A
Goals: N/A

Match Sponsors: Bibbys of Halifax
Match Ball Sponsors: The Old Post Office
Man of the Match: Louis Jouffret

#FAX150 #MatchReport

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