By Brandon Reeves
Another late show saw Huddersfield reverse their fortunes of the Otley defeat to steal a 28-27 win at the death thanks to three tries in the final ten minutes.
Field had found themselves sixteen points behind in the second half, and for the majority played poorly, but rallied when it mattered to down a tired Preston Grasshoppers side.
Of those late tries, Kian, son of Marcus Stewart, ran home two in two minutes to ultimately prove the match-winner, showing it must run in the family.
Gareth Lewis said about the late flurry “The final minutes were unbelievable with all replacements making significant contributions.”
Will Milner started the scoring for the home side to go six points in the lead early on with a couple of kicks in front of the posts.
Preston woke up and would go to dominate large parts of the match, starting with a Matthew Lamprey score.
They were helped with a yellow for vice-captain Lewis Bradley for a shoulder in the tackle while off his feet, Referee Michael Harris sending him to the bin.
Against the fourteen men, at a five-metre scrum, burly number eight Lamprey exited the scrum on the blindside to power his way past Kian Stewart and touch down.
Next was Preston’s ten Thomas Davidson kicking a penalty from a good thirty-five metres to nudge the visitors ahead.
Davidson was involved in Preston’s next try, too. On another foray into Field’s twenty-two. Davidson received the ball out of the ruck and launched a pass to the wing, Huddersfield caught square, and Tyler Spence ran in for an easy finish.
Davidson’s conversion sailing through to make it 15-6 at the break.
Lewis’ men needed to improve as they were suffering both with and without the ball, Preston had them right where they wanted them.
Shortly after the restart we saw a continuation of the theme of the match, Grasshoppers worked their way to Huddersfield’s line within a few minutes and Alastair Murray powered over to extend their lead. Thomas Davidson converted the flanker’s try.
The hosts had to show something, now sixteen points behind and the game slipping away. Fortunately, their character as a team was to get them back in the match.
A scrum near Preston’s line, exited by Dickie Piper on the blindside with a little pass to Jack Maplesden found Joe Green in space on the wing to cross over and get one back.
It gave Huddersfield some hope with twenty to play, but Preston wanted to dash any hopes of their lead being cut short.
A Huddersfield high kick landed at the hands of replacement winger Bradley Cave who found Sam Stott in the middle of Huddersfield’s half. He went on a run to draw three men while approaching the try line, found his centre partner at twelve with the supporting run James Fitzpatrick to finish the move.
At this point you’d be forgiven for thinking that as abject as Field were all day that they had no hope of getting anything from sixteen points behind.
But what happened in the final ten minutes could really kickstart the season.
Field found possession in Preston’s twenty-two, and worked it along to Matt Dunn, he powered his way just short of the line. But for the first time in the game they had men over. Joe Green found Mark Pease who crossed to score.
Milner converted and suddenly there was a chance. Nine points now the gap, the tiredness was kicking in for Preston, and Field just kept going.
Back they came, out of the ruck Joe Green across to Tom Hodson, he hurled one to Lewis Workman, spinning while receiving to evade a tackle, then it was two on one with Workman and Kian Stewart. Once again having an extra man paid dividends, Stewart receiving for an easy score, Field now closing in.
Milner missed the conversion meaning that only a try would be good enough to win with two minutes to go.
It was straight back down Preston’s throats from their kickoff. A surge from Field just outside their twenty-two, Workman and Alex Battye worked it wide to replacement Arthur Wilkinson making it across halfway. The crowd now roaring on in anticipation as Wilkinson found Hodson outside him to sprint on to Grasshoppers’ twenty-two.
Hodson was caught but Field had the energy, and the momentum. Bodies were arriving at will. Five passes across the line found Kian Stewart with a man to beat and metres to make up to the whitewash.
A drop of the shoulder deceived Matthew Lamprey as Stewart made for the corner. Two Preston men desperately jumped in, but Stewart had already won it for Field to spark scenes on the touchline and in that corner.
The winner feeling that bit sweeter given what happened last week, and with that Huddersfield have a first, dramatic win of the season.
Gareth Lewis felt the emotions of last week and this week in equal measure. “I’m not sure how many more of those I can handle!
“Losing with the last play one week and winning in similar circumstances this certainly raises the blood pressure. “We were poor today. Every one of the players can do so much better. However, the character we showed to stay in the fight despite all this should give them great confidence.”
Tries: Green, Pease, Stewart (2)
Pens: Milner (2)
Tries: Lamprey, Spence, Murray, Fitzpatrick
Cons: Davidson (2)