Report by Patrick Moore
Preston Grasshoppers 57-17 Huddersfield
Huddersfield RUFC fell victim of a 57-17 thrashing to Preston Grasshoppers in a disappointing afternoon for Gareth Lewis’ side. After last week’s loss confirmed relegation, the Field were out to get revenge against a team who got the better of them in flood like conditions before Christmas at Lockwood Park, but things fell apart from the beginning.
The Field welcomed back captain Alex Battye, Lewis Bradley, Lewis Workman and Gavin Rhodes to the starting XV but they couldn’t help as Preston ran in nine tries in the afternoon.
Second-rower Austen Thompson had to be replaced within the first minute after an injury, and just minutes later the Field had conceded a soft try.
It wasn’t long until the home side scored a second converted try followed by a penalty, but when Liam Parfitt broke through to set up Tom Owen who went over it gave Huddersfield initial hope. Joel Hinchliffe was on kicking duties again with Chris Bell starting on the bench, and converted well from the side-line.
Any hope was gone though as Preston ran in three more tries before the half time whistle, with Lewis Allen converting all but one of his side’s first half tries.
Huddersfield hit back within a minute of the restart through Ross Thornton, but Hinchliffe couldn’t convert and Preston hit back with two further converted tries to give the Field no chance to come back.
Bell, after a good dummy, scored to leave Huddersfield one try away from a bonus try point, but again Preston responded with another converted try of their own to seal the demolition.
“Today was embarrassing. There’s no other way of putting it to be honest. That performance was not acceptable,” said Lewis. “The fundamental rules of rugby are about carrying the ball out with conviction and knocking people back in the tackle, and we didn’t do that at all.”
“We missed far too many tackles across the team today which is unlike us. We spilt the ball in key areas and we moved the ball too wide too early; our decision making was shocking. Whether the team is in the National Two or National Three, it is not good enough.”
Lewis added: “For the most-part of the season, it’s been a story of being so near but still so far away, and our performances have been great with so many near misses. That sadly goes completely out of the window with this performance.”
Huddersfield’s last home game of the season comes against Broadstreet next Saturday at Lockwood Park, and Lewis knows his side need to make up for the loss.
“I’ve asked the players how they want the season to end. They need to make a pact together unless they want Broadstreet to come to Lockwood Park and run riot, which will happen if we perform like we did today. We have to improve.”
“We have to put some pride back in to ourselves on the pitch now. We have the responsibility to the home crowd in our last game to show what Huddersfield Rugby Union is all about, because frankly today wasn’t a Huddersfield performance.”
15- Tom Hodson
14- Elliot Hodgson
13- Tom Owen
12- Lewis Workman
11- Elliot Fletcher
10- Joel Hinchliffe
9- Dan Jeffrey
1- Alex Battye
2- Ross Thornton
3- Laurence Sanderson
4- Gavin Rhodes
5- Austen Thompson
6- Nick Rhodes
7- Liam Parfitt
8- Lewis Bradley
1’ Declan Thompson for Austen Thompson
31’ Tom Baxter for Laurence Sanderson
46’ Henry Walker for Gavin Rhodes
52’ Chris Bell for Dan Jeffrey
58’ Danny Grainger for Elliot Hodgson
59’ Laurance Sanderson for Tom Baxter