A late show in Huddersfield RU’s National Two North first away game of the season saw them fall to a last-gasp defeat to Otley in a tight encounter at Cross Green.
Quality was in short supply with wet conditions proving a fitting environment to Field’s dampening display, but a draw wouldn’t have flattered either team.
After battling back from 11-0 down to tie the game, Gareth Lewis’ side struggled to find enough in their game to find a way through Otley’s rear-guard.
The low-scoring game was started better by the hosts, who with a couple of penalties out of three attempts from Otley’s Fly-half Ben Smith had their backs up.
While it wasn’t insurmountable, the visitors couldn’t get territory enough or find the positions or the plays to unlock their opponents.
Field’s lineout was wayward at times, and both teams’ kicking left much to be desired while looking for touch or an out-ball.
Otley’s first try of the game came about from Huddersfield possession. Will Milner’s low kick attempt was blocked and an unfortunate slip by Jack Mapelsden allowed Otley to venture into an attacking position.
Field didn’t manage to recover their position in time, and while Tom Hodson went to the ball, a gap appeared on the wing and Jack Mackie found his winger Stephen Nolson with space to get to the whitewash from twenty-two metres out, despite James Davies’ attempts to catch him up.
Smith missed the conversion which still left Field some breathing space to make some ground before the half was out.
Will Milner kicking through was the platform of having points on the board that they needed to start the second half in an improved fashion.
To their credit, they were quick out of the blocks after the interval. Capitalising on a favourable kick from Otley’s Max Johnson, Huddersfield returned that kick with interest, working it to the right side where James Davies stretched his legs to make up serious ground.
From the resulting ruck, Jack Mapelsden found Lewis Bradley, just about gathering the ball, darted through a gap between defenders and cross the line to bring the gap to three points.
While Milner missed the kick, his boot would later draw the game at eleven all from about 30 metres out just before the hour mark.
Huddersfield would then have the ascendancy, slogging for position on the pitch and looked to find that elusive winner.
But a knock-on, not helped by those wet conditions, ended any hopes of advancing to the try line.
The resulting scrum would prove the platform for Otley’s dramatic winner. They had an overload of three men on two, and Ben Smith gambled on that by sending a high kick forward.
Full Back Benjamin Magee pounced, beating Elliot Knight to the ball and with that extra man, sent winger Paul Petchey away to be roared home by the home support while he stepped inside Tom Hodson’s run back and got the ball over to win the match.
Knight in trying to catch Petchey caught his face on the studs of his boot in diving at the back of his, meaning a trip to the hospital for the wide man.
Smith, whose kick started the scoring, and the move for the winner kicked the conversion to round off Otley’s first win of the season. Field’s wait for a win will go into matchday three.
Gareth Lewis said after “It was a tough way to lose a game. We were in the ascendancy well into stoppage time but ultimately a bit of poor game management and misfortune proved to the difference. “We played some great rugby in challenging conditions but we didn’t play for territory enough and it came back to haunt us. “Next week is now hugely important” he added.
Elsewhere in the division, Fylde were upset on their trip to newly-promoted Preston, Huddersfield’s next opponents. Wharfedale stunned Sedgley Park, while South Leicester edged a victory in the Leicester derby, there were also big wins for Hull and Hinckley at Tynedale and Peterborough.
Tries – Paul Petchey, Stephen Nolson
Cons – Ben Smith (1)
Pens – Ben Smith (2)
Tries – Lewis Bradley
Cons – None
Pens – Will Milner (2)
Brandon Reeves, Huddersfield Rugby Union Correspondent.