Huddersfield deemed ‘Gladiators’ after breaking losing streak.
Huddersfield RUFC looked a rejuvenated outfit as they beat Stourbridge 32-31 on Saturday.
The win lifted Huddersfield out of the relegation zone, ending a sour 3 game losing streak, and their performance was much more suiting to the never say die identity Huddersfield have attributed to themselves under Gareth Lewis’s management.
From the get go Field looked like they were out with a point to prove. And stormed ahead early on. After winning the line out, the ball was flashed between players to reach Joel Hinchliffe on the right flank, scoring to put the score at 5-3.
It was clear Huddersfield wanted to make it as difficult as possible for the visitors, who before the game where the league’s top point scorers.
“We knew Stourbridge would be a big physical side with some major threats out wide, but the fear of losing turned us into gladiators this afternoon” said Lewis.
And gladiators they were, the home side remained regimented in their communication and defensive line. Lewis Workman made two vital challenges in quick succession as Stourbridge looked sure to score on the break.
Confidence was high in the Huddersfield camp. On his 100th appearance Elliot Knight’s nippy run opened up enough space for rock solid Nick Sharpe to barge his way over the line.
Despite Huddersfield’s dominance, Stourbridge’s Tatenda Mukarati was lightning fast coming off the scrum on the 10-metre line and ran in to score. Field were made to pay for 2 missed conversions, as it meant Stourbridge drew level at 10-10.
Huddersfield remained united, and reclaimed the lead before the break. A strong number of players got behind Lewis Bradley to push him over the line in the maul, and this time Will Milner was sure to seal all the points with the conversion putting Huddersfield 17-10 up at half time.
The resilience of the side was just as prominent in the second half. Field opened the second period with a heavy bout of pressure, and captain Dickie Piper applied all his strength to get over the line and give the side a two try advantage.
Against the run of the play, 2 tries in only 7 minutes from Stourbridge stunned Lockwood park, and going into the last 15 minutes the game was wide open at 27-24.
But up stepped Kian Stewart. One of the youngest members of the squad turned it on it in the final 5 minutes of the game, mustering his strength and speed to fly down the left wing- beating his man and placing the ball over the try line. The noise inside Lockwood park and the celebrations of the team showed just how much the win meant to the home side.
A final penalty try for Stourbridge didn’t dampen any spirits, as the game finished 32-31.
“I didn’t think the score line reflected the game. Our mentality was a huge factor in today’s victory building on the second half last week. We were aggressive from the outset and importantly began the second half well. I thought Joel Hinchliffe marshalled the troops very well” said Lewis.
Huddersfield go up to 12th, and look to capitalise on their outstanding performance next week at Hinckley, who sit two places above them in the league “This is only one win so we’ll enjoy this evening and then begin preparations for Hinckley. They say the inquest starts when you win so we’ll unpick today carefully and aim to improve next week”.