Huddersfield RUFC defeated second place Rossendale 41-11, after a hot day brought a red-hot performance.
Absences from Brandon Conway and Elliot Hodgson’s who’s 50 tries combined, didn’t stop Field from getting five tries and a bonus point, against once rivals for the title Rossendale. Adam Malthouse, Danny Grainger, Nick Sharpe, Lewis Workman and Nick Rhodes and two penalties from Chris Bell, help extend Field’s unbeaten league run to 25 games with one game remaining.
The first half ended 17-6, after both sides enjoyed dominant spells with the ball. Bell opened the scoring with a penalty. Before, an instinctive offload from number eight Sharpe, allowed Malthouse to break the line and score under the sticks. Bell converted. (10-0)
Danny Grainger got the second try after Huddersfield switched to ball to the right with pace, allowing Grainger to pounce over the line. Bell again converting the conversion. (17-3)
Head coach Gareth Lewis expected Rossendale to be a tough test in the first half. Lewis said, “The first half was pretty evenly matched. They probably dominated the territory as we struggled to build pressure in the opposition half following some good exits.”
Rossendale responded impressively to being behind at the start of the second half, with an early try and 10 minutes of pressure on the Huddersfield line which could have seen Rossendale take the lead. Lewis said, “We were under intense pressure for the opening ten minutes of the second half until we finally clicked into gear.”
However, after containing the pressure, Field controlled the final thirty minutes of the game to score another three tries.
Firstly, a dominant Huddersfield scrum allowed Nick Sharpe to gather the ball and get Huddersfield’s fourth try. Bell converted.(24-11)
Lewis knew Huddersfield would start to dominate the game, when they started winning the set-pieces, “Our set piece began to dominate, we started to win the collisions and played to the game plan, mixing our running and kicking game.”
Bell kicked his second penalty of the afternoon. Then a clever pass from fly-half Bell, cut out the Rossendale line and Workman with a turn of quick pace scored. Bell converted. (34-11)
Nick Rhodes, who’s in his final season with the club, got Huddersfield’s final try. After constant pressure, Rhodes found a gap and managed to get the ball down one-handed. Bell converted. (41-11)
Coach Lewis is glad that his side get a break from rugby next week to allow players to rest and freshen up before they face Sandal. “It was hard going out there and there are a few battered bodies but we’ve got a week off now and then we begin the build up to our ‘cup final.”
Arguably, Huddersfield toughest opponents all season, a display with instinctive rugby and maturity, should see them make it 26 out of 26 league wins against Sandal.