By Brandon Reeves
Huddersfield started the new year in the same fashion they ended the last, with an impressive league win at Lightfoot Green to complete a league double over Preston Grasshoppers.
On the artificial turf in Lancashire, the visitors were largely in control of proceedings, save for a late push by Hoppers when Field were down to 14, but saw out a 27-22 result.
The result was just the third home defeat Hoppers have suffered since April 2017.
Chris Johnson kicked the scoring off with a drop-goal on a mixed afternoon of success with the boot.
Johnson was almost in for a follow-up score after a break, but his pass was intercepted and the play ended up in a 5-metre scrum to Field. Hoppers got a yellow for their troubles in the process.
With a man extra, Field pressed home their numerical advantage immediately out of the scrum, some rapid hands from Tom Hodson set Lewis Workman up for a second try in two games off the wing.
Johnson missed the first of three conversions to sail wide of the posts.
The half was dominated and managed well by Huddersfield who showed a stubbornness in thwarting any of Preston’s advances, especially towards the close of the first 40 to send Hoppers in scoreless, Field with an eight-point lead.
The match then burst into life in the ensuing ten minutes after the restart. Hoppers took initiative while Field were in possession. An errant pass was intercepted by a Preston forward who had winger Tyler spence on his shoulder as he burst clear.
Spence finished the try before it was converted.
In the five minutes after, the sides exchanged penalties, two for Chris Johnson, one for Hoppers, notching up the scores to 10-14.
After that frenetic period of play, Preston’s Matt Crow nipped across for a score after some pressure deep in Field’s 22, going through phases, using their advantage to good effect to edge ahead by a single point.
But such is their mentality, Field weren’t to be deterred, and came back with a ten minute spell to put the game in their firm grasp.
Following an advantage, Jack Maplesden made a dart into Hoppers 22 and field kept their quick movement of the ball up to the line. Alex Battye, determined, forced it over after the next few phases.
Johnson added another penalty before Field were back in for their final score.
Will Milner’s break and exchange of passes with Fran Entressengle made space, not without a hint of a forward pass, Huddersfield Man of the Match Lewis Bradley surged for the corner before offloading to Kian Stewart to go in behind.
From then on a Hoppers onslaught kept Field well occupied up to the final whistle.
Nick Sharpe got himself a yellow for stopping the home side just as they were in for a score. Then came a period of penalties and scrummages from 5metres that wound the clock down.
Hoppers eventually broke down the wall, but the conversion was missed as time had run out, giving Gareth Lewis’ side the best possible start to the new year. Naturally, the Head coach was full of praise after the performance.
“I’m delighted for the lads and the traveling support. To come to a place where they’ve only been beaten once in the best part of eighteen months is some achievement.
“Once again our defence was outstanding against some very strong ball carriers. It’s great to see the likes of Guy Borrowdale, Adam Blades and Ross Thornton really setting the tone with top performances but this was a huge collective effort.
“Against Fylde before Christmas we were second best at the breakdown but today we were fantastic in this area.
“There are still plenty of areas to work on and together we’ll be working hard to improve for next week.”