Fylde Fail to Halt Field Resurgence
Huddersfield started life in the new decade at Lockwood Park in superb fashion as they put in one of their best displays of the season to overcome high-flying Fylde 32-15.
Despite some early setbacks Field maintained their belief and ran out deserved winners over the course of a thoroughly entertaining 80 minutes.
It could’ve been oh so different had Fylde capitalised on their fast start, claiming tries through David Fairbrother and Tom Carleton in what Field were perhaps fearing could have turned into a repeat of their 40-10 humbling when the two sides met earlier in the season.
They showed incredible bravery to come straight back at the promotion chasers, putting pressure up against the try-line which was eventually made to pay when skipper Dickie Piper led by example to force the ball over, Will Milner adding his first conversion in what would turn out to be a brilliant kicking display.
The defining period of this game was perhaps the last 10 of the first half where, after Lex Botha had scored right in the corner for Fylde’s third try in 30 minutes, it looked as though Field’s efforts would be in vain.
But when the half looked as though it was heading towards a 7-15 score as the players walked in, a little bit of inspiration from Lewis Workman and Tom Hodson spun the game on its head.
Hodson received the ball out wide and offloaded to Workman, who raced past a couple of challenges before finding the overlapping Hodson, who ran clear of the final Fylde defender to sprint from inside the final 22 over the try-line and score for successive games, Milner adding the extras.
Just before the whistle was blown, Milner sent a penalty between the posts to give a completely different complexion to the second half with the game now in Fields favour at 17-15.
This late surge gave the home side the confidence to come out and play with freedom and they did just that, the ball emerging from a scrum inside the Fylde 22 cleverly kicked through for Jack Maplesden to chase and pounce on for his first try of the season in an almost carbon copy of Carleton’s try for the visitors, the only difference being Milner successfully converting the kick at the posts.
Not content with simply getting points from the boot, Milner got in on the act soon after, breaking through a challenge to score Fields bonus point try and put them firmly in control, ironically unable to convert this one as the rain began to hammer down in blustery conditions.
The weather made the final 20 minutes a real slog between the two sides, with Field fighting tooth and nail to hold onto their advantage, and even adding to it when Milner did superbly to kick a penalty from just inside the Fylde half between the posts as the game entered its latter stages.
There was a brief stoppage in play whilst Elliott Munnelly received treatment following an innocuous looking challenge, the players sent back to the changing rooms giving them a break from the terrible weather.
Munnelly thankfully was able to get to his feet and leave the pitch with no serious damage done, and Field came back out and saw out the final few minutes of the game with consummate ease to record a crucial victory, with both teams above them Luctonians and Wharfedale having also won to ensure the gap to safety remains at 4 points.
Afterwards Head Coach Gareth Lewis commented: “After 10 minutes it looked as though it was going to be a long afternoon but Tom Hodson’s try really sparked us into life. I thought it was a magnificent team performance.”
“We won the physical battle and played intelligently. I’m really proud of the lads and now we must keep this momentum through hard work.”
“We’ll hit the emotional reset button and prepare well for a massive game at Scunthorpe next week, backed by superb support once again.”
That journey to Scunthorpe shapes up as a must-win fixture for Field to carry over that momentum and keep the pressure on the teams above them in the league table.