Halifax Panthers made it safely through to the Betfred Challenge Cup 5th Round with a 50-4 defeat of Southern Conference League side Hammersmith Hills Hoists. Head Coach Liam Finn took the opportunity to rotate his squad and survey his options, as first team debuts were handed out to Oli Davies and youngsters Ben Hursey and Sam Campbell. 

The 9 tries to 1 defeat of the London based amateurs only tells part of the story as the Hoists won plenty of new fans and admirers with their effort and enthusiasm. A late Charlie Beatty try arguably getting the biggest cheer of the evening from The Shay Stadium crowd.

As expected, the Panthers raced into an early lead thanks to tries from Ben Tibbs, Ben Crooks, Louis Jouffret and a James Saltonstall brace. Jouffret chipped in with 3 goals to give Fax a 26-0 lead at the break.

On a drier day, the points total could and possibly should have been more, but the Hoists belied their lowly standing in the Rugby League pyramid with plenty of enthusiasm in defence and endeavour with ball in hand meaning the Aussie heavy Londoners made Fax work hard for their rewards.

The 2nd half turned out to be potentially more pivotal than anyone could have expected. Fax ran in 4 more tries through Jouffret, Ryan Lannon, Adam O’Brien and Tom Inman with Jouffret converting all 4.

However, this was all overshadowed by a serious knee injury to Will Calcott ,who received oxygen on the field and was eventually stretchered off after the game was stopped for over 10 minutes so the medical team could give Will the support he needed.

Ben Crooks left the ground on crutches after going over on his ankle attempting to score and O’Brien injured his bicep coming off a tackle 2nd best. The Panthers losing three of their arguably better performers this season on a busy night for the physios. Ricc Caligiuri, promoted to the line up from 18th man after an injury in the warm up, was sent to the sin bin for a wreckless high shot on O’Brien but the visitors didn’t let the man disadvantage dampen their spirits. 

Charlie Beatty scored a breakaway try for the Hoists late on which was celebrated by the visitors as if they’d won the Challenge Cup themselves, but it didn’t affect the result as the Panthers booked their place in the 5th Round and another historic home tie against another amateur side in the shape of York Acorn.

Halifax Panthers
Woodburn-Hall, McComb, Crooks, Tibbs, Saltonstall, Jouffret, Widdop, Calcott, Inman, Larroyer, Kavanagh, Hursey, O Davies
Subs: O’Brien, Fairbank, Lannon, Campbell (Gee 18th Man)

Tries: Tibbs (7), Crooks (15), Saltonstall (23,28), Jouffret (39,68), O’Brien (52), Inman (62), Lannon (74)
Goals: Jouffret 7/9

Hammersmith Hills Hoists
Strasser, Ruhen, Beatty, West, Elbourne, Ryan, Morrissey, Wecker, Condon, McLoughlin, Dixon, Ball, Baker
Subs: Tyler, Peltier, Lomax, Prevett (Caligiuri 18th Man)

Try: Beatty (70)
Sin Bin: Caligiuri (51)

#BWO #MatchReport

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