Huddersfield 15-27 Otley – Match Report
Festivities at Field Halted by Otley
Huddersfield will spend the Christmas break in the bottom three after succumbing to a 15-27 defeat against Otley at Lockwood Park.
Three first half tries did the damage for the visitors and Field, despite a Lewis Bradley try, couldn’t get back into the contest in the second.
Both teams knew how crucial this Yorkshire derby was, with Field looking to climb out of the relegation zone and Otley able to put some breathing space between themselves and the drop with a victory.
It was the away side who started the better, pegging Field back in their own half right from the kick-off and breaking through underneath the posts early on courtesy of Ben Magee, the conversion added to give the visitors the perfect start.
Field came roaring straight back however as, buoyed by a typically loud home crowd, a maul ensuing from a lineout inside the Otley final 22 was well pushed towards the try-line and Dickie Piper led by example to force it over and get his side on the board, Charlie Morgan desperately unlucky with his kick as it rebounded off the inside of the post and away to safety.
After a frantic start in contrary to what was expected of a tense, close fought encounter, Otley took the game by the scruff of the neck.
Alex Beaumont was the catalyst for the visitors, first being on the end of a flowing team move down the left and then profiting from another sweeping attack, this time finding himself charging through the centre to put Otley in the driving seat, Ben Smith converting well from both.
A Morgan penalty sandwiched between was the only response Field could muster in a damaging first half and, as conditions on the pitch continued to deteriorate, couldn’t ever get into any sort of rhythm to truly threaten the visitors during the second period.
Another well worked line-out was pushed up to the try-line and after multiple charges into the Otley pack Lewis Bradley was the one who eventually managed to force the ball over and Morgan converted this one, but this was cancelled out from two Smith penalties to ensure the away side would hold their advantage in relative comfort till the final whistle.
Field, as too many times, this season gave themselves too large a deficit to recover from despite an improved second half showing, and will have to come back in the new year with fresh impetus to stay in a league which they achieved the clubs highest ever finish in last year.
Afterwards Head Coach Gareth Lewis commented: “It’s an extremely disappointing result. We didn’t ask enough questions of Otley and they played with a tempo that made it difficult for us to defend.”
“We have a big battle on our hands, and we must all pull together as a club to stay in this league. We must use this break to refresh physically and mentally and face the challenge head on in the new year.”
That battle begins with a tough looking trip to high flying Sedgley Park, where Field narrowly lost last year 22-17 to last season’s third place finishers in what should prove to be an equally competitive fixture this time around.