Scrummaging the key to a Stourbridge win.
On a greasy surface at a rain soaked Lockwood Park the visitors scrummage proved decisive and helped Stourbridge to a 26 points to 13 win to maintain their championship challenge.
In a lively opening quarter Huddersfield dominated possession and territory and had their visitors firmly on the back foot. Fifteen minutes in Field declined an easy three points when Stourbridge were penalised on their 22, choosing instead to try to press home their early advantage by going for a line out and try.
However the visitors defence held firm and they got on the scoresheet on their first visit to their hosts 22. When Huddersfield were caught offside at a breakdown a series of scrummages followed. The Huddersfield eight were persistently driven back and penalised with flanker Lewis Bradley eventually carrying the can for his pack’s shortcomings with a visit to the sin bin. At the re-set Huddersfield were pushed over their line and Stourbridge Number 8 Sam Pailor scored the first of his three almost identical tries. Fly half Chris Scott added the conversion.
Huddersfield fought back and a grubber kick by fly half Harry Davey to the in-goal almost brought a try for winger Brandon Conway who knocked on in his attempt to touchdown. On the half hour the introduction of on loan Sam Allan in the centre added some more cut to Huddersfield’s attacking options. The Leeds Carnegie man showed a neat turn of foot combining well with those around him and not long afterwards a good break by hooker Ben Morrill almost payed dividends.
A Davey penalty on the stroke of half time narrowed the gap to four points and all looked set for a tight second half.
Although Huddersfield made a bright start after the break when they lost possession Stourbridge countered taking play to the Huddersfield line. Once again a succession of scrummages five metres out proved costly for Field. Prop Callum Thompson was yellow carded for collapsing one of them and Pailor touched down behind the next immediately after his dismissal. Scott added the extras.
A positive response to the set back by Huddersfield saw them work the ball up to the Stourbridge 22 through 17 continuous phases, with a fine Davey drop goal ending the sequence on 63 minutes.
More pressure was produced but a fine break out of defence by the Stourbridge full back Joe Heatley, with good support, took play up to the other end. When held up short another five metre scrum for Stourbridge was set which led to try and conversion three for Pailor and Scott when Huddersfield were once more driven back.
On 78 minutes Stourbridge winger Dan Rundle scored the bonus point try for his team after an excellent run down the left wing but this time Scott’s conversion attempt landed short.
In the dying moments Huddersfield were rewarded with a consolation score. They re-launched after the fourth try and when Stourbridge were penalised for a high tackle on Allan scrum half Joel Hinchliffe took a quick tap and attacked directly. The ball came back and Nick Sharpe crashed through for the last try of the game which Davey converted.
Richard Sykes Rugby Union Correspondent Huddersfield Daily Examiner.