FANTASTIC FINISH PRODUCES DRAMATIC DRAWN GAME
In a dramatic spell of stoppage time at Lockwood Park Huddersfield produced a converted try to tie a game that looked all but lost on eighty minutes. When Hull fly half Simon Humberstone notched his fourth successful penalty on the stroke of full time it looked to be enough to win the game for the visitors. However a powerful last ditch effort by Huddersfield rounded off the match at 22 points apiece.
For much of the time the season’s opening National 2 North game hung in the balance with both team’s producing spells of pressure. Penalties were traded in the early stages with Humberstone’s opener being cancelled out by one from Will Milner for Huddersfield on twelve minutes. A highlight of this opening phase was the skill and athleticism of Huddersfield full back Tom Hodson under the high ball. Unfortunately Hodson had to leave the field through injury at the end of it.
At the end of the first quarter Huddersfield had a good chance to break the deadlock. A penalty kick following an impressive midfield break by Milner and Lewis Bradley earned them a lineout five metres from the Hull line. However the throw went long, Hull gained possession and were able to clear their lines. Twenty minutes later from the very same spot Huddersfield proved clinical. From a good take at the line out the ball was passed in field where Milner went close. It was recycled wide right and centre Elliot Munnelly drove over for the try to make the score 8 points to 3 at the interval.
After the break Huddersfield made a lively start but Hull winger Michael Adlard relieved the pressure with a fine running break out of defence to put his team on the front foot. A try by Number 8 Latu Makaafi and another Humberstone penalty nosed Hull in front. At this stage in the game the newly promoted Northern Premiership champions were buzzing and they should have gone further ahead on 50 minutes. Scrum half Robin Watts and winger Keane Naylor looked clear and exchanged neat passes but the scoring chance was botched when Hull were penalised for crossing.
Moments later Huddersfield were penalised for a high tackle and things got a little feisty. Milner was shown a yellow card and the kick to touch took Hull to within ten metres of fourteen man Huddersfield’s line. From the lineout the ball was passed full width right to left where Naylor cruised in for a try.
Throughout the game Huddersfield had the upper hand in the scrummages and on 65 minutes pack power brought them back into the game. From a line out, catch and drive Hull were penalised in the maul and from the second line out the Huddersfield pack drove over from 15 metres. Hooker Ross Thornton the man to dot down and narrow the gap to three points.
With the minutes ticking away a fine penalty kick by Humberstone from 45 metres out edged his team a little further ahead and when he struck again with time up it looked to be enough to secure victory. Before the game Huddersfield Head Coach Gaz Lewis had promised that his team would fight ‘tooth and nail’ all the way and fight tooth and nail they did. Winger Kian Stewart took a wonderful leaping catch from the re-start and Hull lock Paul Hamber was shown the yellow card for his interference. The penalty took Huddersfield into the Hull 22 and a second yellow card in as many minutes followed. When Hull open side flanker William Hall tried to illegally halt the driving maul from the line out he too was sent to the bin. From the subsequent penalty and line out Huddersfield produced a carbon copy of their second try this time with prop Alex Battye getting the plaudits. The high drama ended with young fly half Cail Cookland slotting a not particularly easy conversion to secure the draw with the very last kick of the game.
Afterwards Lewis commented, ‘I thought we fronted up in the first half and showed great physicality. Our set piece functioned well and I expected us to turn the screw in the second half. Unfortunately we conceded a soft try early on and we struggled to get a foothold after that. When the game looked dead and buried we showed great character to stay in the fight and show what we can do once we get into the opposition’s final third. Full credit to Cail who showed fantastic bottle to take the final conversion.’
Richard Sykes, Huddersfield Daily Examiner.