Field Fall to Narrow Defeat in Yorkshire Derby at Wharfedale
Huddersfield were on the wrong end of a low-scoring contest against Wharfedale as they fell to a 10-3 defeat at The Avenue.
The game was always going to be hotly contested between two Yorkshire sides looking for a victory to give themselves some breathing space from the relegation places, and awful conditions on the day turned the game into a real battle of wills as both teams struggled to play their normal game in the weather.
Field played against the wind in the first half, essentially making kicking for touch an impossibility with the swirling wind sending the ball straight back into their half and forcing them to try and make progress through patient play in the pack.
It was always going to be a tough ask, and Field never really threatened and instead did well to hold out the hosts who did the large majority of the pressing with nature on their side.
A Jack Blakeney-Edwards penalty put the hosts ahead on 30 minutes, that being the first score to highlight the difficulty the conditions caused in allowing attacking rugby.
Field had shown great resistance to allow that as the only score, but the pivotal moment of the game came after Wharfedale were reduced to 14 and the visitors thought they may be able to press home a man advantage.
Instead Wharfedale managed to work the ball up against the try-line and, on the stroke of half time, Matt Speres broke over with the conversion added to give Field a real sucker punch having shown great spirit to hold out the hosts, for what until then had looked like going into the changing rooms with only a penalty to show for their efforts.
At this point the game certainly wasn’t gone with a 10-point deficit to overcome and the weather in their favour for Field.
However, they struggled to ever really get the ball passed around as free-flowing as we have been accustomed to since the Christmas break, and didn’t see enough involvement from the backs in what was terrible conditions to try and move the ball swiftly across the pitch.
Wharfedale deserve credit for also providing a stern defensive effort as Field had done in the first half, the one difference being they managed to prevent any tries being scored, that one claimed by Speres in the first half proving crucial as Field could only put a Will Milner penalty on the scoreboard.
It was what ensured the points went the way of Wharfedale, Field claiming at least some consolation in the form of a bonus point for that Milner penalty keeping them within 7 points of the hosts.
The result means Field are 2 points above Otley who occupy the final relegation slot, whereas Wharfedale open up a 6-point gap between themselves and the dreaded drop zone.
Afterwards Head Coach Gareth Lewis commented: “We controlled the game superbly for 39 minutes but failed to see the half through which gave them the crucial score.”
“Our discipline in the second half let us down and we didn’t get the tempo into our attacking game to really challenge the Wharfedale line.”
“We’ll take the point away from home and begin our preparation for Sheffield Tigers next week.”
That game represents another trip to a fellow Yorkshire side for Field, and one where they’ll want some revenge after the South Yorkshire team triumphed 32-17 in the reverse fixture at Lockwood Park earlier in the season.
By Ben Brown