The new season brought with it early challenges for Huddersfield’s new Academy U19 team. Although on paper a healthy 22-man squad, injuries, sickness and other “unavailability’s” have called for a flexible approach with players playing out of position and generally digging in for their opening two league games in the top flight Yorkshire Senior Colts Premiership division.
However, buoyed by fantastic sponsorship support and a number of the lads involved in the first team pre-season training, confidence is high and mood good within the squad.
Huddersfield Academy v Guisborough Academy
15th September 2013
The Academy hosted Guisborough at Lockwood Park for their first game of the season on 15 September. Guisborough, having an unbeaten / successful side for a number of seasons the game was a good test for the Academy team, the bulk of which remain from the Yorkshire Junior Colts division 2 championship winning side. Guisborough brought with them a direct approach through the forward and centres, and it took its toll on a Huddersfield team whose performance was poor by the standards it has set itself.
Huddersfield performance improved in the second hald and end the game pushing hard for points, the introduction of Lewi Berry at fullback creating a much better balance in the backs. Although losing 5-21 the Academy were however up and running and had a good benchmark to work from. Many reasons for it, but at the end of the day, a poor performance and a defeat. The Huddersfield points came from a well-executed maul, with Miles Prescott touching down for the Academy’s first try of the season following excellent work from Sam Crompton in the tight.
Huddersfield Academy v Sheffield Tigers Academy
22nd September 2013
The following week saw a hot dry day which was a marked contrast to the wet and windy conditions the week before. Struggling with further injuries Huddersfield Academy fielded 14 players against a team who were in the top three in the county at Junior Colts level and who had inflicted one of only three defeats on the Huddersfield team the previous season. Ironically, Tigers were in the same boat, fielding 14 players, so 14 a side.
Huddersfield scored first, within the first 30 seconds. The expansive intent coming to the fore, when following a clean take from the kick off, fantastic hands in the centres (including prop Elliot Clemson), combined to put rapid fullback Lewi Berry clear for the games first try. Lewis Workman drop kicked the conversion.
The strong Sheffield Tigers pack quickly capitalised upon a yellow card which reduced Huddersfield to 13 men , and with Lewi Berry off the field with a chest injury, Huddersfield had 12 active players. Sheffield scored next, and a “tit for tat” try count ensued, Sheffield benefiing from overlaps but also the power of their short driving work around the ruck area.
Lewis Workman scored Huddersfield’s next try. A poor kick from Sheffield was well fielded by the fly half, who ran right to left, expertly used some decoy runners and sliced through for a try under the posts. Workman converting his own try.
By now back to 13, the Huddersfield players were working like Trojans, with the Huddersfield pack in particular keeping the Sheffield Tigers pack at bay through effective rucking in attack and defence.
The second half saw Lewis Workman dance down the narrow side off the ruck to score his second try, although missing the conversion, and Oliver Kirk, playing his first game in the forwards, carrying two men over the line after spinning out of a maul following an excellent Huddersfield driving maul from the lineout. Again Workman missing the 2 points.
Huddersfield’s restricted lineout, with only 1 lineout jumper available, was excellent with Sam Bambury hitting Miles Prescott time after time. New closed season signing Danny Grainger was outstanding in the centres making a number of clean breaks and in the tireless bulldozing work of Elliot Clemson the Academy have their very own Ben Morrell!
Generally a massive improvement in performance from the previous week, from a Huddersfield team full of energy and team spirit. A bonus point collected for scoring 4 tries and with new signings coming into the team and quality players returning from injury, the Academy will only get stronger and better.
Final score, Huddersfield Academy 24 – Sheffield Tigers Academy 34
Huddersfield Academy would like to show massive appreciation to its team sponsors.
VTech SMT Ltd, Graham Quarries, Jerry Smith, A1 Signs & Banners, Burns Contractors, Spec Savers and Rugbytots
Lewis Workman – solid game and two tries against Shaffield Tigers