Wakefield Wildcats stormed into the sixth round of the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup beating a tiring Halifax side 44-16.
James Webster was relieved with the performance from his side, “We have made a dramatic improvement from last week.
“I thought their intensity this week improved, generally it does for a cup game but, their mindset was that we were going to defend harder. Obviously we were not perfect in that, Halifax struggled at some points.”
The first half was an even affair with six tries, both sides were pushing forward but small errors forced them to lose possession. Wildcats were the first to break on 13 minutes when Hall’s pass found Richard Owen which was his first of two.
Halifax, however, came out looking a much stronger side in the second half, but the visitors soon grew tired creating errors. Wakefield took this to their advantage and sailed into an even further lead with five consecutive tries in the last 15 minutes. Two of the tries came from Ian Kirke on his debut.
“I thought Halifax were outstanding, they completed well. It’s no fluke that they play like that, they are a good team” James Webster continued.
“We have had three players that haven’t played in three months, the interchange really hurt us they blew out pretty quick, Kirke did a good job for us, and he scored two tries got through some minutes that will help him for next week. I am just pleased that we are in the draw and I am pleased for the players.”
Wakefield were the first to make the break on 13 minutes when Hall’s pass found Richard Owen to the right of him. Owen held off three Halifax defenders to just get it over the line and put the home side into the lead, Hall was wide with the conversion, 4-0 to Wakefield.
Five minutes later Halifax soon found their confidence and pushed the Wakefield defence right back, Miller spilt a Murrell kick and Saltonstall was on hand to pounce on the error to put the visitors into the lead by two points, 4-6.
Wakefield soon pulled it back, showcasing another strong attacking display down the right side, Hall got on the outside of his man and released Richard Owen to score his second. Hall converted on the touchline to make it 10-6 to the home side.
It did not last for long as Halifax found themselves scoring once again, Ben Heaton proved to be too strong for Riley and Arundel who triumphed over the line. Murrell was too wide with the conversion to put it level on 10-10, eight minutes before half time.
Jacob Miller put in a terrific display throughout the game, looking extremely strong, the stand-off kept hold of the possession dodging the Halifax defence around the 10 metre line. The ball then fell into the hands of Dan Smith who scored for the Wildcats to put the home side into the lead on 16-10. A few minutes later and Wakefield won a penalty; Hall knocked it over to put the scoreboard to 18-10 on the stroke of half time.
HALF TIME: WAKEFIELD TRINITY WILDCATS 18-10 HALIFAX RLFC
Halifax stepped out into the second half looking the stronger side; they caused a few issues for Wakefield down the middle.
The visitors clawed themselves back into the game when Gareth Potts picked up the ball from a Chris Riley fumble to make it 18-16.
Wakefield soon picked up their game and were unstoppable in the last 20 minutes, with five tries back to back. The home side forced an error from Halifax, giving them a strong attacking position, Ali Lauitiiti used his strength and power to barge through numerous Halifax defenders before he offloaded to Riley who finished in the corner. Hall failed to convert and they home side were 22-16 up.
Craig Hall extended Wakefield’s lead, he also proved to be too strong for Halifax and bounded his way through the defence to run and put it down behind the sticks, he converted his own try to make it 28-16.
Halifax looked exhausted, this gave Wakefield the edge in the game picking up more of the loose balls and holding onto the possession easier. Richard Owen won the ball in his own half, he raced away from the Halifax defenders before passing to Hall, the full-back found space ahead and raced 40 metres before getting caught. On the next play Washbrook extended the lead even further, unfortunately the conversion was missed. 32-16.
Two tries in quick concession from Ian Kirke, who made his debut for the club; the first came when a neat pass from dummy half by McShane sent him over. The second came when a pass from Tim Smith on the inside found the prop-forward. Hall converted to make it 44-16.
FULL TIME: WAKEFIELD WILDCATS 44-16 HALIFAX RLFC