By D Whittle

Huddersfield 31
Sale 31

Ben Hoyle’s last gasp try completed an epic comeback and secured a crucial draw at promotion rivals Sale.

Despite leading early on, ‘Field trailed by 14 with just 10 minutes to play, but tries from Elliot Hodgson and Hoyle means that ‘Field have cemented their place at the top. 

Manager Lee Paxman said: “The lads showed great character to come back from 31-17 with 10 minutes to go. It wasn’t a vintage performance, but when we needed to play we put together some great phases, especially in the last quarter.

Although Sale started the brighter, ‘Field soon had a 10 point lead. Their first score came from Giles Hetherington, who intercepted the ball to and run the length of Heywood Road to score.

Their lead was then doubled through another counting attacking try. Recovering the ball, Nick Sharpe kicked upfield, as Joel Hinchliffe chased down possession, the ball bounced in his favour as he then fed Michael Clarke to score. 

But Sale were soon controversially on the score sheet, as John O’Donnell was judged to have grounded the ball after a kick and chase from the Sale back line.

But as Sale looked to kick into the corners, they allowed Hodgson to score his first of the game, as he intercepted on half way to score ‘Field’s third. 

But Sale would go into half time ahead. Despite what appeared to be an obvious knock on, Sale kept the ball in hand and O’Donnell scored his second. This was soon followed up by a try from Chris Mayor as the hosts led 19-17.

Sale then continued to pile the pressure on ‘Field. With 20 minutes left, the hosts scored twice in quick succession, as they looked to secure a crucial victory.

But ‘Field rallied as Hetherington dictated the ‘Field attack, Hodgson scored the try of the game as received the ball out wide and beat two defenders to score.

In the last play of the game, hooker James Davies drove the ball forward as Sale struggled to take him down. As Sale looked to rip the ball, it spilled Hoyle who was able to pounce and complete the comeback.

Paxman said: “The first half we kicked away too much possession but we showed that when we have the ball and play our patterns we will score.”

‘Field will be delighted with the result in a game where they were forced to make changes due to player unavailability.

Paxman said: “James Davies was immense. TVR once again showed his class and Will Brian was busy and energetic around the ruck. These lads have made a massive statement for selection next week.

“Everyone who stepped up added quality. All the subs came on and made an impact.”

Fields next test comes at home to Morley next week. 

Paxman said: “We’ve a very tough local derby next week against Morley. They have recruited a few players recently and put a good run together, so we will need to be at our best to keep our momentum going.” 

Huddersfield: Birkhead, Davies, Stringwell, G Rhodes, N Rhodes, Sykes, Hoyle, Sharpe; Hinchliffe, Hetherington; Clarke, Owen, Mitchell, Hodgson, Hodson. Subs: Lewis, van Rooyen, Brian.

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