The Yorkshire Cup! The T’owd Tin Pot! The oldest Rugby Competition in the world! Huddersfield RUFC integral to its inception and winners in 2011. When the Falcon Command Unit assembled pre-season to discuss strategy, tactics and the relative merits of brioche buns or regular bread cakes to accompany your barbecued burger, the question was put to us as to whether we fancied giving the cup a lash. With the rolling hills of Penistone as our setting and 15 cans of larger a piece in ours bellies the challenge was accepted with gusto.
The lads have been looking forward to this since preseason. Indeed, the challenge and enthusiasm for the competition has been an ever present feature of skipper Irish’s pre-game briefings since September! Our skipper’s passion is one of his many redeeming qualities, but when it comes to the Yorkshire Cup it’s easy to imagine you are sat in the Rovers Return listening to Jim McDonald drunkenly angrily ranting about his love for Liz. So it is!
The first round found the club drawn at Scatcherd Lane to renew acquaintances with our old friends from Morley. This week, last minute unforeseen unavailability syndrome struck our leader and chief player whisperer Gavin Rhodes. A pillar of the South Yorkshire community and president of Yorkshire Collieries Pit Pony and canary memorial fund, Gavin was unable to join the lads because he was saving lives by administering the flu jab to needy recipients. Undeterred and travelling with a fantastic squad consisting of 2 former winners of the competition, the lads were confident and up for the challenge.
A massive redeeming quality for the falcons is a commitment to strive for excellence and be as crisp as possible. Consequently, there was a few frustrations carried from the warm up into the start of the game and to everyone’s disappointment Huddersfield found themselves 14 points behind after 8 minutes.
The boys then rallied and were able to get a foothold in the game. Dave “Hollywood” Hall picked and went straight through the ruck, accelerated to borderline 3 quarter pace or hamstring preservation speed, before 2 phases later coasting over the line to score a try he created. The score remained 14-5 through to half time which included Huddersfield spending 10 mins with 14 men following an indiscretion by Booth.
Early in the second half Huddersfield picked up injuries with Hall and McPhail receiving treatment for serious knocks. This led to the introduction of Stringwell and Granger, with Stringwell combining parenting and playing responsibilities with his son Jack looking on from the stands.
Early in the second half Morley again started well and scored 2 tries. Frustratingly for Huddersfield these scores were often on the back of missed tackles that Morley used as the catalyst to identify space and then move the ball well to score.
The lads showed tremendous spirit and kept looking for opportunities to get back in the game with skipper Irish adjudged to be held up over the line. However, it wasn’t to be with Morley scoring 2 further tries to earn a well deserved victory.
Coach, manager, childminder and valuable collector Stringwell when interviewed after game had the following to say about the team performance; “It was a frustrating afternoon and whilst Morley were good for the win, I felt the endeavour showed by the lads warranted a little more from the game and a closer score line.”
“We want to play against quality teams and to have the opportunity to test our emerging players. So, fixtures and opportunities like this are what we want for the group.
” Also, our senior group deserve a special mention because they stood up today and led the lads well. In particular my old mate Dave Hall who picked up a knock that’s no doubt going to get him a load of grief and the old ‘this is why you retired’ chat!”
So a disappointing day at the office! But on the bright side, great to see one of the present academy lads, Leighton Davies, turning out. Playing in a game like this will bring these young lads on and we look forward to more academy players stepping up in the coming weeks.
The Yorkshire Cup is full of tradition and no doubt there is an army of alacadoos with a million anecdotes about victories, near misses and memories of reet good days on the lash with your mates following a cup game. Our own joint manager Tony ‘that prop with the quiff’ Stringwell made his senior rugby debut in the cup in 2001! A few hundred games in the national leagues followed that and I’m sure some of the lads in this team have the potential to do the same!