By Brandon Reeves
Huddersfield and Fylde were both made to share the points on Saturday after slogging their way through a driving wind and rain to a 20-20 draw by the coast.
The height of the wintery weather came into play in the second half when a spell of monsoon-like conditions soaked pitch and players alike.
Credit to the players on either side as despite the weather both teams kept mistakes down to a low level and fought their way to what both sides can consider a creditable result.
Chris Johnson had the lion’s share of Field’s scoring with a converted try and a couple of penalties to his name to go along with Alex Battye’s score.
Connor Wilkinson bagged a brace of tries for the home side while Greg Smith rounded off the scoring for his side with penalty kicks, but also missed one in either half.
Wilkinson made immediate impact from the get-go. Fylde’s first attack within two minutes yielded a try as Field were given an early tap on the shoulder to let them know the game was on.
He raced from the ten metres inside Field’s half carrying through the channel and all the way to the line.
However, field have proven themselves to be a good side this season and a hard team to keep down. Their response was near instant, working their way down the pitch. From a scrum Alex Battye took initiative crawling his way over with a double movement to get his side on the score board.
Chris Johnson’s account was opened too for the afternoon in kicking the conversion to level it.
From there Huddersfield got into a position of control for the rest of the half, using possession well at times as well as set pieces while keeping it tight at the other end.
It wasn’t too long after Battye’s score that Johnson was in to take the lead. Using their possession patiently and going through the phases into Fylde’s 22, Johnson eventually found himself in a position to make a move.
The number 10 ran straight through his man from 5 metres out and get his team another try. Kicking his own try through, Johnson wasn’t done for the half.
He followed up on the stroke of half time by kicking a penalty, sandwiching two Fylde penalties from Greg Smith, one missed one scored, to send Field into the break with a seven-point lead.
The second half by contrast was a Fylde half.
They came from the dressing room with a similar intensity they showed in the opening five minutes of the match, but managed to uphold it for longer periods this half.
There was no score for a while where the sides were juking it out for pitch position, maybe owing to the conditions at play, also owing to Greg Smith missing his second penalty of the match kicking wide.
Saving his blushes was Wilkinson with a near identical effort to his first score.
Starting just outside the Field 22 he received it to break lines once again but this time had a bit more defensive attention. Wilkinson managed to wriggle free, the rain almost allowing him to slip through the clutches and touch down under the posts.
Greg Smith’s boot kicked a penalty after kicking the previous conversion to give Fylde a tenuous three-point lead.
So it proved when Chris Johnson found himself kicking the sides level late on to finish the match scoring.
Gareth Lewis said on the game “In the end it was probably a fair result.
“We controlled the play in the first half and were looking to turn our dominance into a win, but Fylde came back at us strongly in challenging conditions.
“The spirit and character we showed to fight for the two points will serve us very well ahead of next weeks battle with Wharfedale.”
The character Lewis mentions is clear to see as Field had to be strong to fight against the turning tide of the match, and arguably the trigger-happy whistle of the referee.
But as a team they make no complaints, even with questionable decisions, or even with a lengthy injury list. The character will stand them in good stead with two huge clashes at Lockwood Park coming up.
Wharfedale and Otley both make the visit before Christmas and settling the score will be on the agenda in both fixtures, as well as making up ground on the sides above them.