FRUSTRATION AND DISAPPOINTMENT FOR FIELD.
In Round 5 of the National 2 North championship Huddersfield let slip a game they were well placed to win at half time. Two second half tries for Luctonians proved enough to secure them a 12-10 win, their first of the season, and return to Herefordshire having leapt four places in the table.
Huddersfield’s cause was not helped by the late withdrawal of loose head prop Callum Thompson who sustained a calf strain in the pre-match warm up. He was replaced from the bench by Lewis Brook but his absence restricted coach Gaz Lewis’ tactical front row options during the game.
In a scoreless and scrappy first 20 minutes both teams struggled to find their rhythm as persistent rain made the playing surface slippery and ball handling difficult. Huddersfield got into their stride in the second quarter and produced a lively spell of rugby with Ethan Myers, Arthur Wilkinson and Lewis Bradley creating problems for the Luctonians defence.
A penalty by fly half Joe Potter on the half hour gave Huddersfield the lead which was extended six minutes later when hooker Liam Stapely crossed for the first try of the match. Luctonians centre Rob Aikman was yellow carded for a high tackle on Wilkinson who had made a threatening break down the left wing. Potter’s penalty produced an attacking line out and the try came from the catch and drive. Potter had no difficulty adding the two points from the conversion.
Half time Huddersfield 10-0 Luctonians.
Huddersfield produced their best rugby after the interval and pressed for twenty minutes to extend their lead. Full back Tom Hodson linked well with Elliot Knight on the right wing and when the move was halted the ball was worked back across the full width of the field. Hodson came into the line again and looked to be through for a try but was brought down by an illegal tackle which occasioned referee Nathan Howarth to reach for his yellow card for a second time. Huddersfield opted to put the penalty into the corner and although the maul from the lineout was successfully halted the home side continued to press.
Centre Lewis Workman was tackled into touch 5 metres out at the end of another fine move and came close to scoring again moments later. When the visitors failed to find touch with a clearance kick Workman ran the ball back and grubbed it though the defensive line. He won the footrace to the in goal area but the ball ran dead before he could touch it down. Workman sustained a cut leg when he slid into the advertising hoardings and had to leave the field for treatment.
Having survived the onslaught Luctonians turned the tables with two tries in quick succession. In their first attack of the half Sam Haylor managed to break clear on 65 minutes to score a try under the posts. Fly half Lewis Parkes missed the simplest of conversions but five minutes later, when Huddersfield lost a defensive five metre lineout, they extended their lead with their second score. Aikman grounded the ball in the midst of an untidy maul for a try which was converted by full back Tom Jones.
The home side remained frustratingly pegged in their own half as the final minutes ticked away. When they did manage to break clear in stoppage time they conceded a penalty at the breakdown which the visitors gratefully tapped and kicked into touch to bring the match to a close.
Head Coach Gaz Lewis was disappointed with the performance of his team in a match they were favourites to win and said, ‘We got ourselves into a winning position and didn’t capitalise. Today’s level of performance was not acceptable and we need a big response in training this week.’ The team travel to Stourbridge next Saturday for a game that will be a much tougher challenge. Their match against Loughborough Students last Saturday was postponed because of a COVID outbreak but they have won all four of the matches they have played.
Written by Richard Sykes.
Photos by Ray Morris.