By Brandon Reeves
A stern second-half shut-out at Lockwood Park by Huddersfield secured a fifth consecutive league win on a rain-soaked afternoon against Sheffield Tigers.
The 33-17 win also marked a third bonus point victory in a row for the side who sit third and are now just four points from National League Two North’s top spot, with a game in hand.
Field enjoyed a variety of scorers with their five tries bringing five different men to cross the whitewash.
Skipper Dickie Piper, his pack mates Matt Dunn and Harry Whitfield, and backs Chris Johnson and Lewis Workman all got in on the act to see off the Tigers, who got two tries.
The first try for Tigers came after they made the better start to the game.
Winning the possession and territory battles early doors gave them the chance to drive a maul to the line and over before Mark Ireland kicked his first points of the day.
After exiting their 22 soon after, Field earned a penalty and kicked for the corner. Despite Tigers stopping the maul, Matt Dunn crept in from close after they went through the following phases.
Chris Johnson’s conversion game has been uncharacteristically hit and miss in recent times while still having a metronomic kicking game, his first conversion was a miss.
Johnson would however have ample opportunity to rectify that later. He was involved in making play going forward and put his side in a good position to get their next try. After a break into Tigers 22, Dickie Piper came out the ruck to bag a second try in two games, and the host’s second score of the day. This time converted.
Johnson got some more great joy with ball in hand for Field’s next try. The flyhalf showed some hot stepping to make another break in behind Tigers’ rearguard for a third try in 15 minutes.
After having to pay to get back in the ground from Johnson’s move, Tigers came back with another good effort in the maul following a penalty. Sheffield’s pack is a strength of theirs at the maul and they drove it home again before Ireland converted. But their success was short-lived and Field’s Harry Whitfield burst through some loose tackling minutes after to get himself a second try in as many weeks, giving Field their bonus point before half the game was out.
Tigers’ Mark Ireland gave Field a slight nudge just before the break with a kick after the referee gave their penalty an extra 10 metres, converted under the posts.
The sides went in not too far apart and as a spectacle it was genuinely compelling.
During the break the deluge of rain made sure the second period was going to be a slog in the slush, but for Tigers the flood had already penetrated their defences.
This turned out to be the case because of Huddersfield’s careful management of the game to see out the win. The closest Tigers came was on the left side where their winger was forced into touch short of the line. The rest of the half saw a few mistakes due to the conditions not being conducive to flowing rugby.
But the single score of the period by Lewis Workman made short work of the pitch, the rain and most notably Tigers’ defence.
Joe Green on halfway looked left but fed right to Lewis Bradley who had Workman on his shoulder before sending him away. And off he went haring his way to a fourth try in five i
Johnson’s kick put the seal on proceedings, the second half performance making the result look routine against a wily attacking team.