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26th April 2019, 15:20 | university
England Universities overturned a half time deficit to record victory over a talented and determined Halfax Reserve side in a friendly match at The Shay.
Halifax had the dream start as Thomas Hall put Jack Etchells away for a try on the right wing, exposing Lewis Munyoro in a two on one move, with just two minutes on the clock, although Jordan Syme was unable to land the kick from the edge of the field.
Munyoro almost levelled in the following minutes, but was bundled in to touch by Stephen Gibbs as he scored downfield.
Halifax continued to press, building pressure on the back of England errors, allowing Oliver Waite to crash through the defence to put the home side further ahead, although Syme was again unable to extend the lead.
Jacob Jones brought England to life at the midpoint of the half, barging his way through the middle of the field after England had regained some composure and gained field position, with Lewis Fairhurst slotting the easy kick.
England's lack of game time together showed as errors and some indiscipline gifted Halifax further posession and Charlie Frost danced his way through to keep the scoreboard moving upwards after a fine inside run. Syme was on target, putting Halifax eight points clear at the break.
Half Time: 14-6
Fairhurst was quick off the mark at the restart, diving over from dummy-half and converting his own try to bring England back into the game and went on to convert Jacob Jones' second effort ten minutes later to put the visitors ahead in the game for the first time in the game and it was Fairhurst again shortly afterwards who collected Alex Bielby's short pass to go under the sticks, setting up a further easy conversion.
It was all England now as Errol Carter stretched the lead, pinning his ears back to beat his opposite number to score, but Fairhurst was unable to find his mark from the touchline.
Halifax rallied, with Rhys Davies finishing a cheeky show and go from Gibbs, which Gibbs converted, and it was 'Fax again minutes after as Jacob Smillie scythed through an England defence caught napping, with an impressive 80 metre effort, leaving Syme an easy conversion to bring the home side within two points of the visitors.
However, the comeback was halted by Caley Gray, living up to his nickname "Concrete", who took three defenders over the line with him to cross just left of the posts.
Fairhurst added the extras and England soaked up all the pressure in the next set, building pressure for Kieran Smith to grubber to the corner, where Alex Smith pounced to ground the ball on the left wing. Fairhurst couldn't convert, but with the final hooter just seconds away, it was enough to close out the game for the student side.
Final Score: 26-38
Halifax Reserves: Calvin Barker; Jacob Smillie, Charlie Frost, Thomas Hall, Jack Etchells; Fraser Stroud, Stephen Gibbs; Connor Hampson, Elliott Windley, Connor Daves; Oliver Waite, Chester Butler; Jordan Syme. Subs: Dewi Billingham, Aaron Brook, Rhys Davies, Niall Green, Macauley Harris, Dafydd Jones, Jack McMillan, Bradley Clarkson
England Universities: Lewis Fairhurst, Lee Registe, Sean Croston, Daniel Munt, Lewis Munyoro, Alex Smith, Kieran Smith, Robert Branton, Callum Fletcher, Craig Banks, Alex Eckley, Jacob Jones, Ryan Langton. Interchanges: Nathan Taylor, Errol Carter, Alex Bielby, Tom Jubb, Caley Gray, Kai Fagan, Conner MacCallum.
England Universities Scorers:
Tries: Jacob Jones (18, 52), Lewis Fairhurst (42, 56), Errol Carter (59), Caley Gray (72), Alex Smith (78)
Goals: Lewis Fairhurst 5/7
Referee: Aaron Moore
Featured Image Credit: Simon Hall