By Brandon Reeves
Neither side at Park Lane were short on motivation to get the win in what was far from a damp squib on the final day. Sedgley Park Tigers’ backs proved to be the difference makers in a rampant first half that helped them to a 22-17 win.
That was despite a spirited second half from the visiting Huddersfield who end their season in fourth place, while Sedgley take third place.
Tigers’ Rob Holloway capitalised on a lax start from ‘Field to run in a first-minute try after the hosts won the ball back after their kickoff.
There wasn’t much respite in the swirling Manchester rain when Matt Riley was sent in down the right on 8 minutes for a simple finish. Steve Collins added the extras.
Huddersfield still were finding their way in the game, but nowhere near quickly enough, least not as quick as the Sedgley backline.
Ollie Glasse added a simple finish on a first phase move out of the scrum inside ‘Field 22 by running under the posts to simplify Collins’ task.
Tigers’ number ten added a penalty stroke to send the sides in at 22-0.
With much work to do, Field bounced back with their performance, but would need to put points on the board quickly.
Guy Borrowdale obliged within two minutes when he chased touched down his own kick block. Chris Johnson converted and the momentum started to turn the other way.
Huddersfield wouldn’t have had many more opportunities to get some points. Twice in the second half the Tigers were down to fourteen men owing to a yellow midway through and a red ten minutes before the end.
Alas, ‘Field couldn’t capitalise on the period with an extra man for a yellow. Arthur Wilkinson went close on a penalty advantage set of phases but his double movement saw the try ruled out.
Dickie Piper was the man to get Field’s final try of the season in typical Dickie Piper fashion. A scrum on 5m and the captain exited from the back and burst over the line from close-range. Johnson’s kick meant eight-points was now the difference.
However, Sedgley remained resolute and gave nothing away, even with a man less. As the clock went red, all Field managed was a Chris Johnson drop-goal to get a bonus losing point and secure a fourth-place berth.
Had Hinckley not rescued a dramatic draw at Tynedale, it would have been a fifth-placed finish for the Lockwood men.
Head Coach Gareth Lewis while disappointed in his side’s start, paid tribute to the team’s response and in helping the club achieve a top-four finish.
“We were totally outplayed for the opening thirty minutes but salvaged some pride in the second half with a much-improved performance.
“Overall, it’s been a fantastic season. To finish fourth in National Two is a great achievement and all credit to the boys, they’ve been a pleasure to coach.”