Strong second half show secures first win for Huddersfield.
Huddersfield RUFC returned from their first road trip of the 2021/22 National 2 North campaign with a handsome bonus point win against newly promoted Blaydon.
The home side made a determined start to the game and made it difficult for Huddersfield to settle into any sort of rhythm. A third minute penalty by Ryan Forman gave them an early lead but it was one on which they were unable to build in the opening quarter.
Having survived the initial onslaught Huddersfield took the lead with a try by hooker Liam Stapley which was nicely converted by Will Milner. On the half-hour Milner extended Huddersfield’s lead with a penalty kick but the three points were cancelled out only three minutes later when Huddersfield were penalised for a high tackle. John Clarkson took over the kicking duties for Blaydon and made no mistake from the tee.
Although Blaydon made a lively start to the second half Huddersfield soaked up the early pressure and extended their lead with a try by flanker Liam Parfitt on 51 minutes which was converted by Milner.
Yellow cards for Huddersfield’s Cameron Catleugh and Liam Stapley on 64 and 67 minutes respectively gave impetus to Blaydon’s cause and when their pack mauled the ball over the line Clarkson dotted down for an unconverted try to reduce the deficit.
Once back to full complement Huddersfield regrouped and finished strongly, scoring two more tries in the final five minutes. Scrum-half Jonny Mason was the first to cross the whitewash, scoring his first try for the club and gifting Milner the opportunity for his fourth successful kick of the afternoon which he duly despatched. Blaydon lock Liam Wright was yellow carded on 78 minutes and his absence in defence made it difficult for his team to hang on.
In the final minute Huddersfield captain and Number 8 Lewis Bradley touched down for the bonus point try but Milner’s conversion attempt bounced wide off the upright.
Huddersfield Head Coach Gaz Lewis was very pleased with his team’s performance and commented, ‘I’m delighted for the players. They defended fantastically well in the second half as Blaydon made a number of entries into our 22 metres. We showed how we are improving and to take five points away from home is very satisfying. It was particularly good to see so many home-grown players giving their all for the club.’
The match saw three more players who started their rugby in Huddersfield’s thriving Age Grade section make their first-team debuts. Flankers Leighton Davis and Jacob Glover and prop Jack Smith all having their first run out for the team. Lewis Bradley and John Clarkson were named ‘Players of the Match’ for their teams.
Written by Richard Sykes.
Photo by Ray Morris.