Huddersfield 24-20 Loughborough Students – Match Report

Sharpe finds that winning feeling

A late Nick Sharpe try brought Huddersfield’s losing streak to an end in a lively encounter at Lockwood Park. Field, who were without a win on home soil since early January were locked at 17-17 as full time approached. The evergreen Sharpe, at the centre of a well executed driving maul touched down under the posts to secure the vital points. The score rounded off an excellent second half response which saw the home side come from behind to run in three tries. Kian Stewart continued his free scoring form, adding a brace. In a game which could have gone either way, the spirited Loughborough outfit contributed a positive and direct approach which saw them pressing for the win deep into stoppage time.

In a tight first period Will Milner edged the hosts in front with an early penalty. An unscheduled change midway through the half saw full-back Tom Hodson replaced by Joe Potter. The home side looked to extend their lead following a fine break from scrum-half Jonny Mason. Feeding Milner 25 meters out, the centre’s chip through eluded Liam Stapley’s grasp with the line at his mercy. Following a sustained spell of possession the Students went ahead, Henri Lavin picking up a loose ball outside Field’s 22. The Flanker smashed his way through a series of tackles to claim the score. Loughborough prop Mink Scharink saw yellow following a flare up on the half hour mark but the home side were unable to take advantage, going in 3-5 at the break. Field prop Haris Hussain made his debut replacing Jack Smith in the front row late on in the first half.

Immediately after the restart a poor clearance kick from Field was fed out quickly to wingman George Barber who made no mistake down the right. Tom Smith’s conversion stretched the lead to 3-12. The hosts struck back immediately. Lewis Bradley breaking through on halfway to feed Kian Stewart on the right flank, the wingman’s pace securing Field’s opening try, converted by Milner. With their tails up, Field went ahead minutes later. A slick backline move created from good scrummage ball, saw Stewart take the perfect line, sprinting over unopposed. Milner stretched the lead to 17-12

Going into the final quarter the Student’s desire to run with the ball paid dividends when neat interplay down the left between Ollie Pyle and Darragh Walsh saw the move stopped just short of the Huddersfield try-line. Quick recycling found the ball spun out to centre Alex Wainwright who forced his way over from close range.  Smith’s conversion attempt drifted wide to keep the score level at 17 all. With just five minutes remaining the Field pack gained momentum from a catch and drive 20 meters out. The visitors were unable to stem the tide and tight control of the maul resulted in Sharpe’s winning try. The Students were not finished and Smith slotted a penalty in the final minute to reduce the deficit to four points. Looking for the win in time added on, tensions were raised as Milner was sent to the bin but Huddersfield stood firm for their fifth win of the season.

Huddersfield scorers
Tries: Stewart 44, 52, Sharpe 75
Conversions: Milner 44, 52,
Penalties: Milner 9

Huddersfield: Hodson, Stewart, Catleugh, Milner, Nunn, Law, Mason, Thompson, Stapley, Smith, Pearson, Sharpe, Parfitt, Bradley, Brown
Replacements: Brook, Hussain, Davis, Potter, Knight

Report by Andrew Smith

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