Huddersfield fell to a second consecutive home loss to West Yorkshire rivals Sheffield Tigers.
On a boggy pitch warped by over 24 hours of rainfall, fans were lucky to see the contest go ahead after the referee deemed the Lockwood Park pitch playable.
Sheffield applied the early pressure expected from a side unbeaten in 3. A scrummage deep into field’s final third allowed the away side to maul over the try the line in the 7th minute.
The slippery pitch made for a physically demanding game for the players, and Field needed to dig deep in their defensive play.
But Sheffield worked the sluggish conditions to their advantage, keeping the ball moving fluidly down the line whilst the home side were slow to rise from the previous ruck, and Peter Swatkins sped over the line down the right flank to score his 128th try for Sheffield in just over 200 appearances to put the score at 0-17.
After Will Milner converted a penalty for the Field, the barking orders of captain Dickie Piper and hooker Joel Hinchcliffe inspired Huddersfield to pick up the pace before half time.
Youngster Kian Stewart employed his speed to shuffle away from the immovable Sheffield defence, and managed to make space for Elliot Knight on the left flank, scoring to decrease the deficit to 7 points going into the break.
Signs of the impending cruel winter months were visible as temperatures dropped going into the second half, the hot steam emanating off the battling scrums displayed the exertion of two sides more than willing to put their bodies on the line for all the points.
Sheffield pulled further ahead early on in the half, finding the spare man on the left side putting the score at 10-24. But Huddersfield remained resolute, the team continued to meet in regular huddles and there was still a clear sense of togetherness about the squad.
And there needed to be, Tigers put relentless pressure on fields final third for a large proportion of the second half, the deteriorating muddy ground made it difficult to form a slick break.
The Huddersfield line consistently produced the dog work needed to keep Sheffield at bay, all be it at the expense of the poor kit man!
As the day saw the first bit of sun peeping through the Lockwood bridge, Huddersfield’s performance brightened going into the last ten minutes.
The same togetherness that prevented conceding at one end lead to a try at the other, Joel Hinchliffe finishing off a sturdy driving maul to close the gap to 17-27.
But after competitive play in the middle, Sheffield Tigers had the last word of the afternoon capitalising on their final bout of pressure and sealing the victory at 17-32.
Head Coach Gareth Lewis has firm belief his side have what it takes to revive their season. “It’s obviously bitterly disappointing to lose in that way Although it’s still relatively early in the season we must improve our performances and I know we can turn this around.”
“We go to Tynedale next week and with hard work and togetherness there’s no reason we can’t get our season back on track”.