Report by Patrick Moore
Huddersfield 12-22 Caldy
Huddersfield RUFC were relegated from the National North II after a 12-22 loss at Lockwood Park to Caldy. Two first half tries from scrum-half Dan Jeffrey put the Field back in the game after the away side took an early 12-0 lead, but with the only second half try coming from the away side it meant the fight to stay up had finally gone.
Gareth Lewis’ side were without Chris Bell, Lewis Bradley- who completed his two match ban- and Lewis Workman, who all play in the Yorkshire 20s semi-final on Sunday, along with injured Adam Malthouse (ankle), captain Alex Battye (ankle), Adam Tamanis (neck), Joah Bradley (shoulder) and Henry Ward (shoulder). Henry Walker and Gavin Rhodes were also unavailable.
Full back Tom Hodson captained the side due to the hindered squad, but it wasn’t long until Caldy were ahead following a well thought-out lineout, where Thomas Sanders was left to go over. They soon doubled their advantage when Ben Eaves took full advantage of an expertly timed kick which left the Huddersfield defence puzzled, and this time John Broxson made no mistake converting.
But it wasn’t to dampen Huddersfield’s spirits, and like so many times this season, they fought back. A quick-thinking Jeffrey made the decision to take a penalty himself and he slipped between the tall defence. Joel Hinchliffe took kicking duties with Bell’s absence and had no problem in converting.
Jeffrey scored another impressive try after Caldy kicked a penalty midway between the first half, but Hinchliffe this time couldn’t convert.
Both sides cancelled each other out through large periods of the second half but Caldy made sure of the win when Ben Jones scored with less than a quarter of the game left.
“Again we proved we can mix it with the top teams in the league,” said Lewis. “I’m sounding a little bit like a broken record but the first few minutes cost us twelve points and that was the difference.”
“We were very stretched in terms of selection and a lot of the lads stepped up to the plate from the Falcons. To a man they were fantastic and they put the bodies on the line. It was quite strange that when we were scrambling in defence it brought out the best in us.
“I just said at the end that we need to be far more clinical, especially in our approach to the game so we do not concede any early points. At this level teams will punish you if you have a lapse in concentration and if you missed tackles like we did. They were too many one on one tackles where we didn’t have the defensive press as a team.”
Head coach Lewis also spoke of the tries scored by the lively Jeffrey:
“There were gaps opening at the fringes of the rucks and Dan exploited them because he’s got the ability to snipe through and he took his tries really well.”
Huddersfield face an away trip to Preston Grasshoppers next Saturday, and although the result won’t have an impact on the outcome of the season, Lewis still believes his side has a lot to offer.
“The relegation has been inevitable. There’s three games to play and I’ve asked everyone to keep our standards high to build for the future now. Hopefully we will retain the bulk of the squad for next season because I firmly believe that these experiences will make us a better team,
“We’ll go out against Preston and just enjoy ourselves. We’ve had a few injuries again today so our squad will be stretched yet again but we just need to enjoy ourselves now.”
Man of the match- Dan Jeffrey
15- Tom Hodson
14- Tom Kanauros
13- Tom Owen
12- Elliot Hodgson
11- Elliot Fletcher
10- Joel Hinchliffe
9- Dan Jeffrey
1- Tom Baxter
2- Ross Thornton
3- Laurence Sanderson
4- Edward Birkhead
5- Austen Thompson
6- Nick Rhodes
7- Ben Hoyle
8- Liam Parfitt
8’ Danny Grainger for Elliot Hodgson
33’ Declan Thompson for Austen Thompson
58’ Elliot Knight for Joel Hinchliffe
58’ Edward Black for Edward Birkhead
71’ Edward Birkhead for Tom Baxter
71’ Joel Hinchliffe for Dan Jeffrey
75’ Tom Baxter for Ben Hoyle