Report by Patrick Moore
Leicester Lions 5-3 Huddersfield
Huddersfield RUFC conceded a try in the last two minutes to lose 5-3 away to promotion-chasing Leicester Lions. After looking certain to hold out for the win, the cruel try leaves Gareth Lewis’ side rooted at the bottom of the National North II league.
Alex Battye captained Lewis’ side who were without regular first-team starters Nick Sharpe and Austen Thompson through suspension and Elliott Hodgson with injury.
With the wind against the Field in the first half, Chris Bell scored a penalty on the half time whistle to put the Field in the driving seat.
Another tight second half was dominated by the away side, but they just couldn’t manage to get a try to ensure a victory. Bell had another opportunity from a penalty midway through the half, but the wind meant he had no chance of adding to the low score line.
With just two minutes to go and after the defence overturned possession just moments before, Huddersfield were finally broken down when Devon Constant sailed over to give Leicester an undeserved win.
“I’m absolutely devastated. We dominated for about 80% of the game and looked good for the needed win. We come away with a losing bonus point but it’s still very disappointing” said Lewis.
“We played some really good stuff today. Our defence and discipline was excellent. It was just in that last ten minutes, though, where we dropped off and gave away a few tackles and penalties which went against us.
“It gives us hope, we’ll keep battling all the way to the end. It’s just very fine margins. We need to start making losses into wins and we’ve got to be doing it quickly too. We’re only two thirds of the way in to the season and there’s still a lot of rugby to be played in the league.
Daniel Jeffrey’s was preferred to take the number nine shirt in a host of changes made for the game, and Lewis was pleased on their performances.
“Dan did very well. He was sharper on the breakdown and his distribution was good.
“But our line outs were still an issue. It was difficult conditions out there with the wind, but we can’t have that as an excuse. It wasn’t good enough.
“Sometimes when we’re in the final third a couple of us can be a bit selfish in our decision making. If we had a little bit more vision, we had space outside and we could have gone over the line; and they’re key moments.”
Adam Malthouse also gave his thoughts after the devastating loss:
“Today was the story of our season. We began pretty slow in the league and we’re paying for it now. Our performances aren’t warranting defeats like that. I felt we deserved to win and the lads are all gutted.
“In the first half we used the wind well, even though it was against us, but in the second half we just didn’t take our chances and they’ve punished us at the end.
“There’s always positives but in this league you need to win games, the players know that. Performances are getting better week in week out but we need to be picking up wins.
“We’ve got some games coming up at our place and in our favour too and we have to win them. The squad itself is good enough. But we especially need to get the results on our own patch. If we can pick up points away from home it is a bonus.”
Ten games remain in the season, and Huddersfield have to pick up wins soon to remain in the league, starting with Stourbridge at Lockwood Park this Satuday.
“We’ve competed with every team in the league throughout each game. That was justified here as it wasn’t till the end of the game they got their try” said Lewis.
“We have no doubt that we have the ability to stay in the league. Sometimes losing can be a habit, and we’ve got to get out of that.”
15- Tom Hodson
14- Elliott Fletcher
13- Danny Grainger
12- Tom Owen
11- Tom Kanaurus
10- Chris Bell
9- Dan Jeffrey
1- Alex Battye (c)
2- Lewis Bradley
3- Adam Tamanis
4- Gavin Rhodes
5- Nick Rhodes
6- Liam Parfitt
7- Ben Hoyle
8- Adam Malthouse
24’ Ross Thornton for Gavin Rhodes
40’ Lewis Workman for Danny Grainger
60’ Joel Hinchliffe for Dan Jeffrey
68’ Henry Walker for Lewis Bradley