INJURY-RAVAGED St Joseph’s tough start to their Pennine League Premier Division season continued with a 30-14 defeat at the hands of title-hopefuls Halifax Irish at Fartown.
Once again Saints paid a heavy price for a poor start and soon found themselves 14-0 down after 15 minutes.
At this point, St Joseph’s started to take some control and were only denied by some solid defence from Irish, who crossed again just before the break to make it 20-0.
The second half started off brightly, with the Saints pack beginning to dominate.
And it was no surprise when they opened their account after 51 minutes when man-of-the-match Graham Hyland created the opening for winger Richard Aka to slip through four tackles and win a 60m sprint to the line.
Neil Barrett converted.
St Joseph’s now had their heads up and immediately surged back downfield, with Paul Simpson, Lee St Hilaire and Hyland leading from the front.
Then, after good hands, the ball was moved from Barrett out wide to youngster Craig Lee, who showed great skill with a deft reverse pass for Hyland to cross.
At 20-10 Irish were on the rack as Saints pushed for a third score.
But the visitors then showed why they will be title contenders by hitting back with a score of their own.
Simpson powered over five minutes later to put St Joseph’s back in contention, and the game was really in the balance.
Yet despite more pressure from coach Jody Shaw’s side, the Halifax side sealed the win with a converted try.
“Once again we paid for a poor first 20 minutes,” said Shaw.
“There were some harsh words at half-time to the lads from myself as I felt we had not given a true reflection of ourselves.
“I was pleased with the response to that and we won the second half.
“We are doing things tough at the moment. We have a huge injury list, but Irish are title challengers and we took them all the way.”