Halifax Vandals boosted their Yorkshire Three promotion hopes with a 24-12 win away to Aireborough in Saturday’s fourth versus third contest.
They were the only one of Calderdale’s six clubs in first team league action in a game re-arranged from the previous Saturday and switched to at Otliensians.
Vandals were desperate to get their season back on track following a frustrating draw against Wensleydale and did so in spite of being without several regulars.
Playing into a strong wind and rain, their forwards dominated in the first quarter ande Jamie Bloem and Joe Gallagher kicking astutely.
Sutcliffe marshalled his forwards with great skill and Hamer, Jowett and Richardson kept the robust Aireborough pack busy in defence.
On the few occasions that Aireborough kicked for position, Vandals’ back three of Crowther, Jordan Bloem and the returning McAspurn dealt with this threat superbly, with the latter particularly impressive on the left wing.
Sutcliffe went close and Vandals were then penalised in possession at a ruck when they had a huge overlap.
Consecutive penalties led to the Leeds team having their best passage of play but Vandals hit back and Jowett was adjudged to be held up over the try line. From the resulting scrum Hamer combined brilliantly with Gallagher for the stand off to score. Crowther converted for a 7-0 half time lead.
Vandals stretched away in the third quarter. Jamie Bloem threw a pin point miss pass to Crowther, who put Jordan Bloem in at the corner for a superb try and a 12-0 lead.
Richardson was held just short of the try line following the restart but Vandals were relentless and Hamer stormed through a huge gap to score under the posts for Crowther to convert.
Gallagher turned defence into attack with a superb kick and Burnside collected loose ball at the back of a line out and drove over for the bonus point try.
Aireborough looked well beaten but dominated the last 20 minutes after Vandals switched off. McAspurn made a brilliant cover tackle but the hosts scored a converted try and then crashed over from a penalty.
Player coach Jamie Bloem was happy with a bonus point win but not the last 20 minutes.
“We relaxed after scoring our fourth try and let in two relatively soft tries. We are better than that and need to be ruthless,” he said.
Leaders Knottingley lost at Stocksbridge and now seven points cover the top three. Vandals have a crunch match at home to second placed Goole on Saturday.