Huddersfield earn draw against Otley in tough contest at Cross Green
Huddersfield head coach Gareth Lewis was left with plenty to ponder as his side drew for the second week in succession against Otley at Cross Green.
Otley subs Alex Beaumont and Joe Rowntree did the damage, the former getting over the try-line 10 seconds after coming onto the pitch and the latter adding the conversion with less than 10 minutes left on the clock to tie the score at 15-15.
A typically hard-fought Yorkshire derby was evenly contested in the first period, both sides defending stoutly to ensure the only points on the board came from a penalty for each team, Centre Will Milner cancelling out Ben Smith’s early kick between the sticks.
Huddersfield spent much of the first half camped in opposition territory but found themselves up against a stubborn Otley defence, who almost nicked a try of their own in the late stages of the half following a well worked lineout but came up against an equally determined Field rear guard.
A first half of frustration for the visitors in which they showed plenty of attacking promise but failed to make that dominance turn into points looked to be settling into a similar pattern at the start of the second half, but a brilliant solo run from winger Elliot Knight sparked the contest into life.
Starting in his own half of the pitch, he skipped past multiple Otley defenders before powering away from everyone else to cross the try line and put Huddersfield ahead, Milner adding the conversion to give the visitors an extra cushion of 7 points.
It looked as though that moment of magic would see Field stamp their authority on the contest and put Otley to the sword, but it was the home side who added to the scoresheet next, Adam Malthouse being the man out of the pack to get the ball over the try line following a maul which made too much progress deep in Huddersfield territory.
A disappointing try to concede was somewhat softened by Ben Smith missing the conversion to ensure the away side still held a slender advantage with an hour played.
This setback seemed to buoy Huddersfield into making sure their hard work didn’t go to waste, extending their lead once more after working the ball superbly across the pitch multiple times culminating in skipper for the day Lewis Bradley being given the opening he needed to sneak in the gap between two Otley defenders and add Huddersfield’s second try of the afternoon.
Milner failed to convert this one in a miss which would prove costly come the full-time whistle after the interventions of Beaumont, who did well to receive a long pass out wide with his first contribution to the game and just about getting it over the line in the corner.
Rowntree made an equally impressive conversion to bring the scores all level, and that’s how the scores remained until full time, leaving Huddersfield 10th in the table at this early stage.
Lewis commented post-match “I thought the effort levels and the way we attacked and retained the ball for long periods of the game was very impressive. We’ve become a hard team to beat but we need to manage the game better, play in the right areas, I felt we spent too much time in their half not coming away with points, whereas when they were in our half they seemed to come away with points relatively easily. Sometimes it’s not fashionable to kick the ball, sometimes it’s fashionable to run with nice shapes and intricate little plays but sometimes you’ve just got to get down there, kick it into the corners and put them in an uncomfortable position and we didn’t do that enough today.”
Next up for Huddersfield is the visit of Sedgley to Lockwood Park on 21st September, who will provide a stern test having won both of their games to start the season so far. Looking forward to the game Lewis added “We’re unbeaten and we can take some real positives out of that, Sedgley are always up there in terms of the better teams in the league so it’s going to be a tough battle again, we always said it’s going to be a tough month so it doesn’t get any easier next week.”