By Brandon Reeves
On a day where Huddersfield were far from their best against Leicester Lions, they managed to grind out a third successive victory with a narrow 17-15 At Lockwood Park.
Two Lions tries in two second half minutes gave their hosts a short scare on this sun-drenched afternoon, but Field forwards were the bright spark in sealing the win that sees them sit eighth in the National Two North table.
Recent weeks have had slower starts to games with Field, but this time they took the initiative early on, earning a penalty try after scrummaging their way to the Lions’ line.
Nick Sharpe at number eight had touched down from the back of the scrum but Referee Louis Biggs deemed that Field would have had it anyway after battling their way over despite Lions’ best attempts.
After, both sides failed to conjure up anything from open play to put points on the board in what was a scrappy contest.
Both Leicester’s Harry Key and Field’s Will Milner dispatched a penalty kick a piece in an otherwise uneventful half.
The home side’s seven-point lead at the break looked like it could be enough to carry them to a result if the game followed trend.
But Leicester came out after the interval with a bit more impetus in their play and carried a more coherent threat from the breakdown and at set-pieces.
From scrums and lineouts Leicester looked to stretch their back line very wide to create potential overloads to get around Huddersfield, and it worked for them as this was where their first try came from.
A Lions lineout on five metres was worked quickly across the backs, including Devon Constant’s powerful burst to draw players in.
The Field line was narrow, and number Ten Daniel Lewis bypassed three players when he hurled the ball out to wing Laurence Warren-West to then drive his way over the line to score. Key with the Conversion.
That play injured Field Winger Kian Stewart in the process after Warren-West virtually went straight through the Huddersfield man. He was replaced by James Davies.
Constant on Leicester’s other wing carried a threat worth looking out for up to then, but Field by and large dealt with it.
He finally made the impact he threatened, but his presence was to be made in full immediately after.
Lewis Workman’s restart was won by Leicester’s Ethan Godefroy pretty much uncontested, his offload was scurried up the field past the ten-metres by Full back Alexander Wilcockson.
Support was rapidly in tow for Lions before they moved it at pace again to the wing, Constant the target then bustled past three players in his way from thirty metres out to run in behind for the try.
Field were caught sleeping for these tries, but they were shocked into life by Lions’ efforts.
Now five points down from holding a seven-point advantage, there was work to do.
Stewart’s replacement saw a reshuffle in the backs, Davies into centre now with Mark Pease, Will Milner reverting to Ten, Tom Hodson took his place on the wing while Workman moved to Full Back.
They soon regained a foothold in the game and looked to force their way up the field. Their patience in doing this paid off while Leicester’s did their best to thwart their own hard work.
Field were back on their job, and Lions gave away a couple of penalties that gave them an easy bit of territory and a five-metre lineout.
This was where the forwards stole the game back for Field. Bob Sykes claimed it at the lineout and from that there was a big push to get over the whitewash.
The maul drove close to the line but was stopped short, however at each breakdown Field got closer.
Nick Sharpe was the man who ultimately proved to be the match-winner from that period of play and from then, Field saw it out after Milner converted.
Milner then missed a penalty kick which would have given his team daylight but Lions had no answer.
In the end a job done, but they know they will have to and already have played better this season.
Head Coach Gareth Lewis said as much after the match.
“This wasn’t a great performance and we all know we can perform much better. That being said we found a way to win and have developed a winning habit.”
Lewis also paid tribute to stand-in captain for the day Lewis Bradley. “Lewis Bradley also deserves special mention. Not only was he outstanding as vice-captain but he’s the sort character that really drives the club culture. He consistently sets the bar in terms of performance.”
Leaders Hinckley maintain their winning start with victory at Stourbridge, Sedgley and Hull both hot on their trails dispatched Macclesfield and Wharfedale.
Sheffield Tigers edged out Fylde while South Leicester saw off Peterborough Lions.
Leicester Lions, Macclesfield and Peterborough and are still winless after five fixtures and make up the bottom three in the league.
Tynedale couldn’t play their fixture to fourth-placed Chester due to one of their players contracting MRSA following a recent match, while several of their other players are awaiting test results after suffering from infected cuts and grazes.