HUDDERSFIELD ACADEMY RUNNERS UP IN COMPETITIVE FINAL
YORKSHIRE SENIOR COLTS RUGBY UNION CUP FINAL – Sunday 23rd April 2017
HUDDERSFIELD ACADEMY RUNNERS UP IN COMPETITIVE FINAL
The round ball game has given us some wonderful cup clichés which could equally apply to this Yorkshire Cup Final, so let’s get them out of the way – the magic of the cup, giant killing and underdogs, players giving 110%, a game of two halves, and at the end of the day there has to be a winner and a loser!
Huddersfield Academy, made up of Under 18’s and Under 17’s, were the underdogs up against the Wharfedale Under 18’s but in the opening exchanges it was Wharfedale that were rattled following a blistering start from Field. Breaks by Woodhouse, Kershaw and Wilkinson put the Dale defence under pressure and when they tried to clear their line Heppenstall charged down the kick to score a try in the first 5 minutes, converted by English.
More was to follow and only a marginal forward pass prevented Wilkinson scoring a second try for Huddersfield whilst Wharfedale missed a penalty and within 15 minutes they had made 3 substitutions.
On the half hour mark Fields influential centre Kershaw was yellow carded and from the penalty, Dale kicked the goal to make the score 3 – 7 which remained the score at half time.
As the second half got underway, once again Field made the better start, and only good defence prevented a Field try following a break by Dickinson. Dale scored their first try 5 minutes into the second half to take the score to 8 – 7. Unfortunately at the restart Gregg mistimed his tackle and was harshly yellow carded.
Clearly changes had been made in the Wharfedale team and they came out in the second half with increased intensity, winning turn over ball in the rucks and mauls whilst dominating the lineouts and scrums. The defence from Huddersfield was solid with each and every player making tackle after tackle to prevent Dale breaking through but with the territorial advantage they were able to kick a second penalty goal to take the score to 11 – 7 followed by a well taken drop goal to extend the lead to 14 – 7.
Wharfedale brought a squad of 26 players to the final whilst Huddersfield only had 20 to choose from so everyman in the Field squad had to work harder but after 30 minutes of the second half Dale scored their decisive second try to take the score to 21 – 7.
This Huddersfield Academy side lifted themselves again and the last 10 minutes was full on, uncompromising and passionate cup rugby, fierce tackling, tired bodies being pushed to the limit and a large crowd cheering the players on. To the credit of this young Field side they finished the stronger team and whilst Dale were involved in an off the ball skirmish, resulting in a yellow card, the Field forwards and backs moved the ball out wide for Kimber to score in the corner to make the final score Wharfedale 21 Huddersfield Academy 12.
Of course the Field team were disappointed to loose, particularly when they so nearly pulled off an incredible win but they can be proud of their performance as were all those who witnessed the game. Particular mention must go to the Under 17’s who “played up” up a year, they were outstanding, showing considerable skill and courage to play at this level and the future looks good for Huddersfield Academy for next season.
Finally this was a poignant moment for long-time coach Jason Gregg and 11 Under 18 players from the squad, who now go onto open age rugby, many of these players have been together since starting out as under 7’s and have given loyal service to Huddersfield RUFC, they have been a credit to the club. We wish them well and look forward to watching them playing 1st and 2nd XV rugby.
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In a game in which Huddersfield had their chances and share of possession Fylde proved much more decisive in the final third to secure a comfortable 38-5 victory at the Woodlands Memorial Ground. They scored six tries and moved up to third place in the National 2 North table.
After the game Huddersfield Head Coach Gaz Lewis commented, ‘I don’t think the final score was a true reflection of the game. Fylde are a good side and clinical when given opportunities. However, we produced some good moments but couldn’t convert our pressure into points.’
Huddersfield made a bright start to a closely contested first half and had a try disallowed just two minutes into the game. Having pegged Fylde back to the five metre line with a penalty, the lineout ball was taken cleanly and driven over. However, the ball was judged to have been held up and Fylde were able to clear.
A quarter of an hour in, Fylde found themselves in a similar situation at the opposite end of the pitch. Number 8 David Fairbrother scored the first try of the game, clearly grounding the ball at the back of the maul and fly half Greg Smith added two more points with a straight forward conversion.
Field responded positively to the set back with Kian Stewart, Liam Stapley, Cameron Catleugh and Ross Thornton all making promising breaks. Although Fylde were pressured into a series of penalty concessions in their own half their visitors were unable to take scoring advantage.
With half time approaching Field brought Lewis Bradley off the bench for his 150th appearance for the team but even his experienced presence couldn’t stop Fylde doubling their lead. On the stroke of half time the centre pairing of Bedlow and Carleton combined well in a burst down centre field, gifting the final pass to flanker Harlon Corrie for a try under the posts. Smith’s conversion concluded the first half scoring.
Five minutes after the interval an unconverted try by winger Tom Grimes extended Fylde’s lead with Field hitting back with their only try of the afternoon five minutes later. Lock, Nick Sharpe was Huddersfield’s scorer, powering over from a lineout close to the Fylde line.
Although Field continued to compete, the match ended in pretty disastrous fashion for them. The home side ran in three more tries in the final fifteen minutes, aided and abetted by some carelessness by their visitors. Overthrown lineout balls and an overly ambitious flick pass gifted possession to Fylde who punished the mistakes in a clinical manner.
The first of the three was scored by Fylde ‘Man of the Match’ Henry Hadfield. The pacey wing man had been a threat throughout and his corner flag try was just reward for his afternoon’s work. Centre Joe Bedlow and lock Matthew Garrod scored the final two, both of which were converted by Ben Gregory.
Huddersfield remain third from bottom in National 2 North. Next week they host Hull Ionians, who are in sixth place, for what will be another tough test.