Otley 25-22 Huddersfield…..Match Report


For the second week running Huddersfield sufferered a narrow, National 2 North, defeat at the hands of Yorkshire rivals. Despite making the perfect start to the game at Cross Green, they were stung by two identical tries by Otley hooker, Ollie Cole, which gave his team an advantage they clung to, to secure a 25-22 win.

At 3pm the ground fell silent, as players and supporters joined thousands of other rugby followers throughout the UK in respectful memory of her late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.

When the game began Otley kicked deep. The catch was taken by Field full back, Tom Hodson, who returned the ball with interest, setting up a 10 metre line out with a fine 50/22. Prop Andy Rollins, rolled out of the maul that followed for a try in the corner, to give Field a 5 point lead with barely 2 minutes on the clock.

At the end of a lively first half hour, in which both teams had their moments, it was the home side that had the whip hand. Twice Field were penalised in front of their posts and twice their opponents spurned an easy three points and kicked to the left hand corner. On both occasions their gamble paid off. From clean lineouts, the ball was mauled infield and Cole was driven over for the touch downs, with scrum half Joe Rowntree adding successful conversions.

Field finished the first half strongly, playing some impressive rugby. They pegged Otley to half way with a penalty and, although possession was lost, it was regained from an excellent turnover by skipper Lewis Bradley. Under pressure, the hosts conceded two more penalties and Field were knocking on the door. On the stroke of half time hooker, Liam Stapley, crashed over for a try, which Will Milner converted, to make the score 14-12 at the interval.

Immediately after the break the hosts caught Huddersfield cold. Otley winger, Sam Taylor, made a magnificent jump and catch, rolling out of the tackle on landing, to put centre, Gavin Stead, in for an unconverted try.

Shortly afterwards Otley were penalised on half way and Field had their chance to take play back into the red zone, but, when they missed the kick for touch, they were made to pay. The ball was run back and Stead extended the lead with a penalty, when Field infringed in front of their posts.

The visitors responded with their best spell of rugby in the match, forcing Otley to battle hard in defence. Time and again Field drove close but the home side managed to prevent them from crossing, although Field did reduce the deficit when Milner landed a penalty kick.

Ten minutes from time the scores were level. Continuing to press and working through the phases,  Field retained possession well. The ball was passed from left to right, eventually finding its way to Fin Stewart, from the hands of his brother Kian, who had looped into the line from the left flank. Stewart raced in for a corner flag try and Milner landed an excellent 40 yard conversion from the touch line.

With the scoreline at 22-22 the game could have gone either way. Cameron Catleugh, on at full back, for the injured Hodson, made a nice break for Field and delivered a sleight of hand off load to Stapley but the promise of points remained unfulfilled.

In the end it was Otley that got the decisive break. Field were penalised at the scrummage and Rowntree landed a match winning penalty 3 minutes from time.

Afterwards, Huddersfield’s Director of Rugby, Gaz Lewis, reflected, ‘I felt we deserved more than a losing bonus point. We played some great rugby but suffered a 10 minute spell after half time where we conceded a try, then lost scrum half Simon Wilson and Tom Hodson to injury. We will get better and now must prepare well for Chester next week.’

Huddersfield: Hodson, Stewart F, Workman, Milner, Stewart K, Law, Wilson, Thompson, Stapley, Rollins, Pearson, Brown, Parfitt, Thornton, Bradley (Capt). Replacements: Catleugh, Effiom, Smith, Hinchliff, Potter.

Written By Richard Sykes.

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