Honours were fairly even in the all National 2 North matches but Leeds Beckett University showed their mettle in Huddersfield’s final match in a round-robin series of pre-season friendly games at Lockwood Park.
Hull Ionians were first up for Huddersfield and the visitors got off to a strong start running in two tries in the opening minutes. It took a while for the hosts to settle into their game with a combination of summer unavailability and fresh faces giving the Huddersfield team a completely new look.
In the front row Harry Whitfield, having returned after a spell at Old Rishworthians, played on the tight head with Cleckheatons’s Paul Turner guesting on the loose and Mark Chivers in at hooker. Newcomers Matt Dunn and Josh Malkinson took the second row berths. The pack looked solid in the set piece throughout the afternoon with Dunn proving very effective in the line outs.
The half back combination of Jack Maplesden and Tom Hodson eventually established Huddersfield’s patterns of play and Maplesden showed his attacking potential with a brace of tries to bring the score level at the end of the forty minute match.
Huddersfield’s second game against Sedgley Park was played at a lively pace with the Huddersfield backs showing a lot of creativity. Joe Green came in at scrum half with Maplesden moving into the centre to make way for him. Green turned in a brisk performance and dictated the play in the game. Whitfield rounded off a nice move on the right wing for the first score with flanker Liam Parfitt crashing over for a second in a match which Huddersfield shaded two tries to one.
The final game was a one sided affair and saw a very powerful Leeds Beckett University side run in seven tries including one by winger Johnny Keh who is still on Huddersfield’s books. Former Huddersfield and Wales fly half Colin Stephens is the Director of Rugby at the university and the students play their matches in the British University and Colleges Super League for the top ten teams in the land. Winger Kian Stewart showed a nimble turn of foot to score a consolation try for Huddersfield to round off what was on the whole a fairly positive afternoon for Head Coach Gaz Lewis.
Richard Sykes, Rugby Union Correspondent Huddersfield Daily Examiner.