It was an afternoon of high emotion. It was perfect conditions, dry, but overcast virtually no wind and the ground was slightly soft. It would be our pleasure to once again run out onto ‘The Field of Dreams’. 20 Huddersfield men with butterflies in their stomachs and an evil glint in their eyes. It was a full house, I’m told there were around 25 fans but to me, it was closer to 25,000. Some would say playing for virtually nothing, but to us, it meant absolutely everything. It’s been a long time since I’ve played on the hallowed turf and we were definitely not prepared to lose.
Halifax arrived late but that just gave us chance to do a little training which is a rarity. We had a good strong side but we were vulnerable in the front row, with just two recognised connoisseurs of the coal face. Would it be enough, yes, it had to be.
So the game kicked off, I wasn’t happy with the setup from our kick-off receive. It was the first scrum when it became apparent that Jamie Rhodes had injured himself in the warm-up and had merely not come out to play without telling anyone! So we brought Webby on to put us up to 15 men. Uncharacteristically we looked vulnerable at the set-piece. However, loyal inspired men do not let you down. We had a few good spells one saw Harry down the wing with a neat chip near the posts it was chased down by Ben Royds who set up a ruck a meter from their line, which Duncan with a little show and go scored one of his two tries. A feat he hasn’t managed in the last decade. They responded shortly after their full-back proving himself a danger.
We reacted within 5 minutes for another try but they were dangerous and kept applying the pressure.
At half time we went in ahead 19-10.
The second half was a bit of a blur. Changes were made a relatively sober Campbell came on. With some more of the students. These reinforcements were too much for the visitors as we began the onslaught. Tooley made his debut after crying off four times. We were astonished to see a lad that had never played before who could catch. After being denied from a twenty-yard break he got a second chance where he showed pace, a step and even managed to cross the whitewash. A very nice debutant try. Joe Brown impressed on his debut, dropping all four of his catches, butchering at least 2 tries! I’m sure it’s just nerves, he’s probably never played at this high a level before. The only thing he didn’t spill was his pint, which took him half an hour to down. Sam and Ryan put in a decent shift. It was great to have Ben Royds back with a strong performance and two tries. It was great to have Leighton with us who had a tough afternoon behind a scrum that was clearly struggling. Despite this, he managed several line breaks leading to a couple of tries. A strong performance from centre/prop JB who was on loan from Broughton Park, courtesy of Michael Ainsworth. Eddie put a trademark try saving clatter tackle in. The final result was Huddersfield 41-15 Halifax. It was a messy affair with lots of new faces and Luke Carter stepping up to retrain as a hooker. He even got straight into the swing of it with a yellow card! A still drunk Jamie managed to score as well. I was extremely proud to run out with these fine men.
The only really embarrassing part of the day was watching 4 students, a hooker and a debutant try-scorer try and beat a Halifax player at a drinking race! They all lost but Ryan at least entertained us with a lovely pirouette. Bad news none of you came close to qualifying for the boat race.
Thank you to Michael Fort for managing to get us another fixture after Aireborough had to pull out. Much appreciated. Also, thanks to Bill Duncombe for buying the lads a round. Thanks to Liam for not being a good sport behind the bar under difficult circumstances.
*** Little did we know that JB hosts the rather excellent Eggchasers podcast in which we get a nice little mention. Listen to the episode here>>https://play.acast.com/s/eggchasers/s9ep4-11thoctober2021-aisquadandpremround4 ***