Fine form gives Huddersfield third successive win.
Huddersfield defended well in the first half of their Lockwood Park clash against Leicester Lions and went on to produce effective attacking rugby in the second. They ran out convincing winners 29 points to 12 to strengthen their grip on sixth place in National 2 North.
The visitors showed attacking intent from the off and it took a try saving tap tackle from full back Lewis Workman to halt a blistering break after only five minutes. The Lions lively backs continued to run and pass the ball at pace with scrum half Alex Smit dictating the tempo of play. However the Huddersfield defence proved resolute and a series of good tackles prevented them taking a lead.
On 20 minutes Huddersfield winger Brandon Conway set up a counter attack and two breakdown penalties later Huddersfield had a line out and their first real scoring chance. The ball was well taken and driven forward with skipper Alex Battye getting a try which Joel Hinchliffe converted.
Lions responded with more attacking moves which had Huddersfield scrambling in defence. Conway produced a brilliant try saving tackle to thwart the best of them and although he had to leave the field injured following his heroics his team held firm until half time.
After the interval the game took on a different complexion and Huddersfield completely dominated the third quarter. Their powerful pack controlled the scrummages and posed a real threat in open play. Hinchliffe landed a penalty on 53 minutes and when Lions failed to reach the 10 metre line with the re-start kick they found themselves pegged back and further behind three minutes later. Workman and flanker Lewis Bradley made good yards with lock Adam Malthouse eventually crossing for try two. Workman just failed with the touchline conversion attempt.
Having gained firm control Huddersfield were guilty of gifting possession back to their visitors and allowing them back into the match. In the space of ten minutes two tries and a conversion had reduced the lead to just three points. First to score for Lions was giant second rower Oli Tapscott who rampaged over for a try from 30 metres out. Fly half Jon Boden added the conversion and replacement Tainne Finn got the second try. Devon Constant made the initial break down the wing and cut inside to establish the chance for Finn.
To Huddersfield’s credit the set backs didn’t throw them out of kilter and they were soon back on the front foot and looking dangerous. Lion’s winger Luke Veeble was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on when a left wing overlap looked on for Huddersfield and the subsequent penalty established the platform for try three. From the line out Field produced the perfect driving maul. With the ball securely at the back of it the Huddersfield eight marched their opponents thirty five metres backwards over their line with Battye grounding the ball for the try which Workman converted.
The final ten minutes brought two yellow cards, a penalty try and some classy rugby from the Huddersfield backs. Huddersfield’s Nick Sharpe and Will Roberts for Lions were the men dismissed and moments later Huddersfield winger Elliot Knight was held up over the line after a great back line move. The five metre scrum that followed produced the bonus point. With the Lions pack in complete disarray referee Matthew Riley had no hesitation in awarding the penalty try.
Richard Sykes, Rugby Union Correspondent, Huddersfield Daily Examiner.
At the start of the match a minutes silence was held in memory of Richard C Gudgeon. The former Huddersfield RUFC president had passed away earlier in the week having lost his two year battle with cancer. He would have been very proud of the performance his team delivered in the eighty minutes that followed.
Men of the Match…
Huddersfield…Lewis Bradley. The open side flanker was always in the thick of the action. He produced some fine tackles in defence and made good yards in many individual breaks.
Leicester Lions…Alex Smit. Played a classy scrum half’s game. Very active around the scrums and got his three quarters into running play with sniping breaks and some very slick passing.