Firwood Waterloo 7-49 Huddersfield

Huddersfield RU stormed further ahead at the top of National North Three with another bonus point victory as they ran out 49-7 winners against Firwood Waterloo. Gareth Lewis’ side scored seven converted tries to the home sides one and were untroubled in their 18th consecutive league win of the season.

The Field were without leading try scorer Elliot Hodgson, who missed out with an ankle injury, which meant Elliot Knight was brought in on the wing as Brandon Conway covered Hodgson’s inside centre position. But yet again the Field proved to be fitter, stronger and much more clinical for their opponents in a comfortable afternoon for the league leaders.

Lewis reflected:
“I thought we played well in the first half. We came out and scored two early tries and imposed ourselves which is what we came out to do.

“I felt that we were great until half time and lost a little structure heading into the second half. We made life difficult for ourselves and we’re a little bit disappointed in the way we conceded the try the way we did.

“However, to keep them to just 7 points is another brilliant defensive effort, so we just faulted a bit in our structure.

“We said at half time about not conceding a try so that’s why we’re disappointed a little. But when you look at the bigger picture, it’s another very good effort.”

The Field began in blistering mood and after an early penalty, Chris Bell aimed for touch to set Huddersfield in a good line out position. Nick Rhodes did well to win the second attempt and after a driving maul on the right side of the posts Nick Sharpe went over for the first scores of the day. Bell added with ease. (0-7)

And it was a case of deja-vu for the second, as Bell kicked for touch again, Rhodes won the lineout and a powerful maul lead to another converted try, this time Joel Hinchliffe’s smart dummy giving the scrum half a route to the try line. Bell kicked the two. (0-14) 

Firwood Waterloo deserve credit for responding well to conceding two tries in the first ten minutes and Liam Reeve linked up well with winger John Cunningham in their first chance of the game, but a solid tackle from Harvey Keighley-Payne, who made a solid impression on his first league match for Huddersfield, stopped Firwood’s backs in their tracks.

Huddersfield returned with a good spell of the ball and after a scrum on the 5m try-line, repeated fouls from the Firwood Waterloo defence meant the Field were awarded a penalty try which Bell added to. (0-21)

A knock on from Firwood Waterloo after a good break down the left lead to a turn over possession. Tom Owen, as he has all season, made a good carry before the ball was worked out and lovely hands from Bell, who exchanged passes with Conway, lead the fly-half to go under the sticks in a brilliantly worked try to seal the bonus point. (0-28)

After scoring his third try of the season, Bell was the conductor in another well-orchestrated move where his inch perfect timed pass fed through Elliot Knight on the half time whistle. Bell again found the posts with his conversion. (0-35)

With the reverse fixture in memory where Huddersfield ran out 85-14 winners at Lockwood Park, a similar score-line didn’t seem too far-fetched at the break. However, and perhaps understandably after wrapping up the bonus point win, the Field looked a little off tempo in the restart.

Firwood Waterloo were well organised and created some chances against a Huddersfield side who usually don’t concede after the 40th minute. The Liverpool side got themselves on the scoreboard through Liam Reeve who escaped the Huddersfield pack and Jake Allen converted well (7-35).

The biggest concern in the aftermath of the try, though, was when Conway stayed down after trying to last ditch tackle the Firwood man from scoring. After minutes of treatment, the inside centre had to be stretchered off as Ben Hoyle replaced him.

Keighley-Payne was the next to be forced off after a knock and Austen Thompson was called upon to cover at inside flanker. The home side then did well after they held Huddersfield up on the try-line when a try looked imminent.

And it looked as if Huddersfield would be left scoreless in the second half, but when Firwood received a sin bin Lewis’ side took full advantage of the extra man and Lewis Workman surged over. Bell added the extras. (7-42)

Another knock on from Firwood Waterloo lead Huddersfield on their next attack and Owen got a deserved try after neat play in the middle and he went down the left of the posts. Bell kept another impressive 100% kicking record in tact with another superb conversion. (7-49).

Lewis added:
“We scored some good tries today. Our driving maul in the scrum was very pleasing because we spoke a lot about that. There was some good handling and decision making out there all afternoon.

“Harvey Keighley-Payne was very good. He made some great tackles and got about the field. He cleared out lots of rucks and was busy in everything he did. He’s comfortable at this level and without a doubt he’s someone who we will use again.”

With no fixture next weekend, the head coach also believes the break has come at another good time for the club after an injury to Conway. He said:

“It’s tough on Brandon. Hopefully it’s not as bad as first feared. He needs an x-ray so that will test our resources if he’s injured. If he can get the clear and is fit again to face Ilkley in two weeks it would be great, but we’ll see.

“I think the breaks come at a good time again. Obviously, you lose a bit of momentum by not having games but at the same time these lads have got opportunity to rest to make sure we’re ready for the next game.”

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