Halifax Panthers fell to defeat yesterday at a oven-hot DIY Kitchens Stadium against runaway league leaders Wakefield Trinity. But not before scoring the most points by an away side at Belle Vue so far in 2024, yet it was defensive errors that allowed Wakefield a 46-24 victory with old boy Lachlan Walmsley inevitably chipping in with a try and 2 assists on the day.

However, it was his replacement Charlie Graham that gave Fax a deserved early lead. His first try in Panthers colours, somehow powering his way through four Trinity defenders after Fax chanced their arm on the last play. Louis Jouffret curled the ball through the posts for an early 0-6 lead. However, momentum killing mistakes gave Wakefield a route back into the game, Walmsley’s scoring pass looked the forward side of flat to send Derrell Olpherts in for his first of four tries of the game as Fax’s right edge endured a torrid time in the late June sunshine.

Max Jowitt couldn’t add the two from the touchline but that was his only blemish as the Trinity fullback, deputising for the injured Mason Lino at halfback, was flawless with the boot from then on.

Halifax’s defensive efforts were far from flawless as Olpherts was in again 1 minute later as Trinity went back to back to take the lead on the 20 minute mark. Fax were still in the game but poor execution in both areas of the game let them down as attacking opportunities saw handling errors at crucial moments and defensively Trinity capitalised as 3 more tries in 10 minute before the break effectively won the game for Wakefield.

Oli Pratt charged over from another suspect Walmsley pass, Jowitt collected a James Woodburn-Hall error to sprint away unopposed before the inevitable happened, Olpherts repaying the favour for Walmsley to score on the half time hooter with Trinity showing their full time conditioning to lead 28-6 at the break.

The Panthers have shown in recent weeks that a half time deficit is just a challenge for them to meet after nearly toppling a 0-30 deficit against Toulouse and coming back from 28-12 down to beat Barrow last week. Wakefield are a totally different, full time opposition though, but back came the Panthers in signature fashion!

Gareth Widdop, named on the bench in a reshuffle by Liam Finn, scored with his first touch after tremendous approach play by Man of the Match James Woodburn-Hall. Provider would turn to scorer as Fax went back to back. Jacob Fairbank’s offload found Joe Keyes who made the break deep into Wakefield territory before handing it onto Widdop, who was brought down by desperate Trinity defence.

But Fax showed composure to finish on the next play, Jouffret back on the inside to Woodburn-Hall who powered over. Jouffret’s conversion put Fax back to 28-18 and game well and truly on.

But Wakefield stepped back on the gas with Olpherts completing his hattrick and then his fourth soon after as the Panthers right edge continued to capitulate. 40-18 and game over. The Panthers still wouldn’t go away though as the impressive Woodburn-Hall supplied a lovely soft pass for Matty Gee to charge through for the try that Jouffret converted. 40-24 brought a bit of respectability to the scoreline but Liam Hood’s trademark dummy half scoot over gave the final score line a Trinity gloss.

Plenty of positives against the runaway leaders of the Betfred Championship but still plenty to work on for the Panthers falling to a 46-24 defeat leaving Fax sitting second bottom and in the relegation zone.

Wakefield Trinity
Walmsley, McGillvary, Croft, Pratt, Olpherts, Gale, Jowitt, Bowden, Hood, Atoni, Ashurst, Griffin, Pitts
Subs: Uele, Bain, Doyle, Kay – Promoted from 18th Man 

Tries: Olpherts (12,18,59,63), Pratt (25), Jowitt (37), Walmsley (39), Hood (76)
Goals: Jowitt 7/8

Halifax Panthers
Woodburn-Hall, Saltonstall, Barber, Tibbs, Graham, Jouffret, Keyes, Tangata, O’Brien, Fairbank, Kavanagh, Gee, C Davies
Subs: Widdop, Larroyer, Boyer, McComb (18th Man: Lannon)

Tries: Graham (7), Widdop (50), Woodburn-Hall (53), Gee (71) 
Goals: Jouffret 4/4

#MatchReport #PanthersFamily

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