Championship contenders show their mettle to end Field’s three match winning run.
Second placed Sedgley Park ran in seven tries to beat Huddersfield 43 points to 10 and keep their National 2 North championship dreams alive in an entertaining encounter at Park Lane.
Circumstances had forced Huddersfield coach Gaz Lewis to make some positional changes for the match. Veteran prop Tony Stringwell was re-called on the tight head and Number 8 Richard Piper moved into the second row in the absence of the vastly experienced Nick Sharpe with Lewis Bradley taking Piper’s berth at the back of the scrum.
The hosts had their visitors pinned back towards their line from the off and Number 8 Hallam Chapman went in for the first of their seven tries seven minutes into the game, Steve Collins adding the first of his two first half conversions.
Once Huddersfield gained some possession they looked threatening with ball in hand and after a fine mid-field break by centre Mark Pease Sedgley Park were penalised and scrum half Joel Hinchliffe’s successful kick put them on the scoreboard.
The next ten minutes belonged to Huddersfield and smart work by forwards Lewis Bradley, Francis Entressengle and Ben Morrill took them close with the home team doing well to hold them up and prevent an equalising score. However when Huddersfield overthrew at a lineout on half way hooker Danny Maher burst clear for converted try two.
Sedgley Park showed their class when moving the ball around and proved powerful in direct attack, rocking tacklers back to get across the gain line. Three minutes before the interval lock Shaun Needham scored a third try after winger Sam Lowthion had cut through the Huddersfield defence after a lineout.
After half time Sedgley Park scored three more tries in a dominant third quarter. There was a second for both Maher and Needham with one by winger Jamie Harrison in between them. Maher and Needham both touched down after forward drives from close range but Harrison scorched home from the half way line. Needham’s try was converted by centre Matt Riley.
Despite the set-backs Huddersfield showed resilience and did their best to counter attack their way back into the game. Nineteen year old Dan Nota, on at scrum half, showed initiative with a quick tap and go penalty and fly half Will Milner turned the home defence with a well-judged grubber to force a defensive 22 metre lineout.
However when Huddersfield conceded possession by giving away a penalty replacement Max Skofik touched down in the midst of the maul which was set up from the resulting kick to touch and lineout. Riley converted it.
With the game well and truly lost Huddersfield continued to battle hard and their endeavour was rewarded with the last and best try of the game. Nota made the initial break from the base of a scrum and fed a nice pass for Milner to run on to. He had flanker Bradley cutting a nice line in strong support and he in turn passed to full back Lewis Workman who joined the move on the outside, diving over in flamboyant style for the score. Hinchliffe’s conversion took his team’s score into double figures to round off the match.
Richard Sykes, Rugby Union Correspondent, Huddersfield Daily Examiner.