Halifax Panthers fell to their fifth straight defeat in the Betfred Championship with a 40-18 loss away to fellow strugglers York Knights. The defeat came at more of a cost than just two league points as James Woodburn-Hall and Louis Jouffret had to leave the field early in the first half with a failed Head Injury Assessment and dead leg respectively.

In truth though, it could be said the damage was done before then as York raced into a 16-0 lead which they never looked liked losing. After Jouffret spilled a York bomb in the first set of the game, the ball was recycled to AJ Towse to finish wide out. Taylor Pemberton missed from the tee but was successful a few minutes later as Ben Tibbs, struggling to get out of his own 10m, tried to offload but the ball fell into the arms of Ukuma Ta’ai who scored the easiest try he’ll ever score.

York then scored a third as a sliced Ata Hingano kick wasn’t pounced upon by anyone in a blue and white shirt enabling Towse to collect, feed Hingano who broke through to assist Josh Daley for the try. Pemberton’s conversion gave York a 16-0 lead going into half time but there was a glimpse of a Panthers fightback.

Jacob Fairbank charged down Hingano’s kick and collected to race down field before being brought down by the Knights defence. Fairbank then broke through from a flat Joe Keyes pass at that line to send Adam Tangata in under the posts. Gareth Widdop’s conversion brought Fax right back into the game at 16-6 at half time even down to 15 fit players.

The first score of the second half would have a massive bearing on the rest of the game and rather inevitably it went to the way of the Knights.

James Saltonstall couldn’t deal with another great Hingano kick, allowing Hull FC loanee Davy Litten to claim the bouncing ball to score the all important try which along with Pemberton’s conversion put York 22-6 up and for all intents and purposes make it game over.

Any doubt was shattered not long after as Widdop spilled the ball on the last allowing Joe Brown to race upfield to score unopposed under the posts leaving Pemberton the simplest of tasks to kick York 28-6 up and then again soon after as Daley claimed his second from close range, 34-6 and no way back for Fax even with 24 minutes left.

However, despite being down on troops in the scorching May sunshine, the Panthers rallied. Throwing the ball about with no consequence bore fruit for the men in blue and white.

An unorthodox last play saw the ball spilled by Litten into the hands of Tibbs who fed Ed Barber for his first try back in Fax colours, converted by Widdop. Fax were in again soon after as a neat blind side play saw Widdop put Zack McComb away on the right, he fed Saltonstall before receiving the return pass to go over under the sticks. Widdop converted to bring the scoreline to a more respectable 34-18.

But that was as good as it got for the Panthers, poor discipline with the ball and lacklustre defence saw York finish the scoring, McComb’s error falling straight into arms of Jimmy Keinhorst, who raced away to put the icing on the cake for York. Pemberton converted to put the cherry on top of a 40-18 victory for the Knights leaving the Panthers battered and bruised after yet another defeat.

York Knights
Litten, Brown, Lineham, Keinhorst, Towse, Hingano, Pemberton, Ta’ai, Jubb, Santi, Dee, Bailey, Thompson
Subs: Fitzsimmons, Teanby, Daley, Pele (18th Man: Michael)

Tries: Towse (2), Ta’ai (15), Daley (22, 56), Litten (41), Brown (49), Keinhorst (78)
Goals: Pemberton 6/7

Halifax Panthers
Jouffret, Saltonstall, Woodburn-Hall, Barber, Tibbs, Widdop, Keyes, Douglas, Johnson, Larroyer, O Davies, Gee, McComb
Subs: Tangata, Fairbank, Lannon, Hursey (18th Man: Campbell)

Tries: Tangata (38), Barber (66), McComb (70)
Goals: Widdop 3/3

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