The Falcons travelled to Hull with a strong squad looking to end their recent losing streak. The final score line unfortunately failed to reflect what was an even game.
The first ten minutes was all Huddersfield. George Hinchcliff belied his arthritic body to leap like a salmon and retrieve the field kick off. Twenty phases of play ensued. Josh Walker, back at the club after three years playing rugby round the globe, found carrier after carrier from nine. Strong surges by Sedgwick, Neilly and Rhodes looked to be opening gaps in the Ionians defence only for the final pass to be knocked on. Ionians then had their turn to control possession. I’s fielding a young well drilled side had threats across the field. Ionians full back was quick with dancing feet and only strong defence from Elliott Spiers and Danny Copley kept the threat at bay. Field failed to clear their lines on several occasions perhaps looking to play too much rugby at times. Eventually the pressure paid and Hull scored a good try out wide. 7-0
Field responded. Following a kick to the corner and line out a strong maul moved toward the Hull line. Joe Sheil and Toby Walker controlled the maul which was illegally dropped 5yds from the line. Playing the advantage, Walker found TVR as usual hitting the hardlines. The ball was recycled and fed down the line eventually finding Harry Delanty Granger on the wing who showed his own dancing feet to get over the line. Scrimshaw converted. 7-7
The game settled into a fairly even midfield contest. Huddersfield carrying and recycling plenty of ball but the Ionians defence reading the backline well and snuffing out promising attacks.
Scrimshaw did have the opportunity of a penalty shortly before half time but uncharacteristically pulled the kick wide.
The first half ended evenly. 7-7
The second half was very much the same – strong running from both sides met strong defences. The introduction of fresh experienced legs in the shape of Brook on the wing and Duffy at 10 looked to change the stalemate. Unfortunately, it was Ionians who had the bounce of the ball which changed the game. Attacking the Huddersfield 22 the I’s fly half put a grubber through the onrushing defence. Spiers at fullback looked to have read this and hacked the ball clear however the referee believed he saw the Ionians 10 touch the ball down with outstretched hand. Try converted 14-7 Ionians.
Veteran sexagenarian Richard Baxter’s introduction looked to tighten up the Huddersfield game which continued to play a little too wide, too early. There was a response and with Brook looking dangerous coming off his wing it looked like Huddersfield were going to square things up. A promising break down the right ended with the ball thrown into touch with the try line begging. A similar break ended with a ruck 5yds from the Ionians line. A try looked certain, but the referee penalised the field clear out for lifting the man off the ground.
With the sides tiring after a fast-paced game it was Ionians again who got a further break. A simple crash ball to the inside centre saw half a break well supported by the number eight who scored a deserved try. Conversion 21-7 Ionians
This was a good performance against good opposition. But for a couple of decisions and passes going to hand the result would have been very different.
Next week sees The Falcons take on local rivals Old Brodleians in the second team cup – a competition the management highlighted as a target. A similar team and performance should deliver the results.