Huddersfield produced some heroic tackling and defensive work to score a morale-boosting come-from-behind victory over high-riding Sandal at Lockwood Park.
The National II North victory was a credit to the planning of head coach Gareth Lewis and his staff and also the fiery dedication of the whole team in an intense battle.
It was the perfect antidote to the previous disappointing defeat at Luctonians – especially as Field were down to 13 men at one stage with replacements Joel Hinchliffe and Adam Malthouse both in the sin-bin – and provides a ready tonic for this Saturday’s trip to mid-table Harrogate.
The whole Field squad will have taken heart from lowering the colours of a Wakefield side who were second in the table going into the match, particularly as the visitors held a 16-7 lead with half time just seconds away.
It was at that point that Tom Hodson weaved his way through at pace for a fantastic try under the posts and, after Chris Bell had reduced the interval deficit to just two points, it took only three minutes of the second half for Field to take a lead they were never to relinquish.
This was despite some baffling decisions from Kingswinford referee Neil Chivers and some mistakes at the line-out by the home side, but they defended magnificently on their own line when necessary and there was a jubilant reaction from Nick Sharpe’s men at the final whistle.
Field had the edge in the forwards, regularly pushing Sandal back in the scrums and mauls, while the play and place kicking of teenage full-back Lewis Workman caught the eye.
He needed to be on his toes, because Sandal were quick with any midfield penalties and eager to get the ball out wide, but Field showed they weren’t going to be overawed with a tremendous try on 18 minutes after they’d gone behind to a fifth-minute Mark Pease penalty.
Bell was the architect with a clever cross-field kick which was brilliantly palmed back by Elliot Hodgson for Workman to go in at the corner – Bell adding a superb conversion from the right touchline.
Pease, ever-accurate with his left boot, struck a penalty for Sandal on 21 minutes and then they went 13-7 up thanks to a try in the corner by skipper Joe Bedford four minutes later, to which Peace added the two.
Bell missed an easy penalty for Field before Pease extended the visitors’ lead to 16-7 with a penalty awarded after a very long period of advantage.
Hodson’s try on the stroke of half time changed the complexion of the match, however, and Bell’s penalties on 43 and 48 gave Field a 20-16 lead before Hinchliffe was yellow-carded 16 minutes into the half.
Pease banged over another penalty for Sandal before and excellent rolling maul by Field was rewarded with a penalty for Bell to make it 23-19.
Malthouse then joined Hinchliffe in the bin, but Huddersfield’s 13 hung on superbly, aided by some pressure-relieving kicks for touch from Workman, and while Bell missed a 77th-minute penalty, he made amends by knocking over a last-minute drop goal to put his side seven points to the good.
It then took some brilliant defence to hold out, but Field stuck to their guns for a win which sets the standard for matches to come.
Match report courtesy of Mel Booth at the Huddersfield Examiner. To see the original report and picture gallery, please click here.