MUD, GUTS and GLORY
Huddersfield U17s played their league fixture against Doncaster on the 1st XV pitch when all other home games were cancelled at Lockwood Park due to water logged grounds.
The going was definitely soft and a persistent drizzle added more to the spectators discomfort than the players who put on a tense game of rugby in difficult conditions.
Within 10 minutes Doncaster had taken the lead through a high kick and chase followed by rucked ball leading to the opening try (0 – 5).
Five minutes later the strong Doncaster pack forced their way into the Huddersfield 22 and maintained the pressure to score a second try which was converted. 0 – 12
With less than quarter of the match played, and Huddersfield under pressure at both the line outs and scrums, the signs were looking ominous. The home side could not get any ball to work with and were forced on the back foot time and time again, but as they have shown before, this squad of players are solid in defence and the tackling kept Doncaster from making further headway.
In the difficult conditions it was a credit to both sides that the handling was so good but mistakes were inevitable and eventually Huddersfield were awarded a penalty from which Newman kicked the goal, to take the points (3 – 12).
That one score lifted the home team and they started the second half showing admirable determination. Doncaster had been successful at the line outs but Robertshaw has been in excellent form all season and secured good ball which allowed Woodhouse to make a break and find Newman out wide, he was able to out-pace the cover to score a try which he converted (10 – 12).
There was still a long way to go and Huddersfield had to defend heroically against the dominant Doncaster forwards who in turn knew they could not allow the Huddersfield backs any room. A mistake by either side could turn the match, the soft ground turned to mud, sapping the energy and perhaps the lighter Huddersfield players had a slight advantage.
It certainly seemed so when a penalty, within kicking range, was awarded to Huddersfield but the ever reliable Newman slipped as he took the kick and the chance was lost.
After going 12 – 0 down Huddersfield had gone three quarters of the match without conceding any further points, showing tremendous character, courage and a determination to succeed, but time was running out.
After his earlier miss it was fitting that with only a minute to go Newman was given another chance when a penalty was awarded to Huddersfield and from a difficult position, in trying conditions he showed incredible composure to kick the goal which won the match 13 – 12.
The players had shown remarkable discipline not to concede penalties and give away points but more importantly they also had shown strength of character as individuals and as a team to win a tense and difficult encounter when put under severe pressure.