Field made to pay dearly for early errors.
Huddersfield sank to a sixth National 2 North defeat losing 25-44 to Sheffield Tigers at Lockwood Park. They conceded five tries, the first three in an eight minute spell coming early on from simple mistakes.
Huddersfield’s Director of Rugby Neil Ryan said, ‘Although there were positives too many unforced errors gifted Sheffield Tigers their tries.’
Despite some impressive attacking play which resulted in tries by Ed Barber, Adam Ryder and Billy Hammond, Huddersfield’s defensive errors allowed the Tigers to dominate play.
Both teams applied early pressure but it was Huddersfield who took the lead with a penalty by Joe Gallagher, making his return after an injury lay off. The fly-half kicked centrally after an offside infringement in the 13th minute.
Buoyed by an early lead pacey full-back Kian Stewart twisted through the Tigers line magnificently but a loose pass allowed Tiger’s winger Olly Butterworth to stretch his legs and run from inside his own 22 to score the first try of the game to give them a lead they didn’t relinquish. Fly-half Mark Ireland converted.
Tiger’s centre Jamie Broadley then broke the line to score the first of his two tries. His second came 5 minutes later after a defensive mishap allowed him in. A high ball resulted in a miscommunication and a clash of Huddersfield bodies, allowing the visitors to work the ball infield and Ireland the opportunity to nip through and score. Both tries were converted by Ireland’s reliable left boot to create a healthy lead.
Despite the defensive errors, Field showed their resilience retaining possession for a long spell and testing the Tigers defence. They got their reward when captain Ed Barber smashed his way through, offloading to hooker Harry Moore who made some good ground to take play inside Tigers’ 22. After numerous attempts to sneak it over the try line, Barber finished what he started, lunging to secure Field’s first try which was converted by Gallagher.
Tigers halted Huddersfield’s momentum when prop Nick Bingham carried fantastically, driving into Field’s half before passing to scrum half Silas Talbot who orchestrated a switch of play which he rounded off by scurrying through the defensive line for a try which Ireland converted to make it 13-28 at half time.
The heavens opened as the sides came out for the second half, but Field’s fighting spirit was not dampened. They started strongly and despite a Gallagher penalty miss they piled on the pressure and in the 47th minute the electric Kian Stewart darted through and slotted to Adam Ryder who flew down the touchline for a try to make it 18-28. Gallagher’s conversion just missed from a tight angle.
Huddersfield’s defensive errors stopped them from mounting a proper comeback with Ireland kicking two penalties in the space of 5 minutes, the second of which came from a high tackle which saw Field flanker Liam Parfitt yellow carded in the 65th minute.
Despite being a man down, Field showed their determination again when number 8 Billy Hammond lunged over the try line after some smart, patient build up play. Gallagher’s conversion made the score 25-34.
Tigers’ tight defence then stopped a potential comeback and any glimmer of hope was squashed when they bundled a driving maul over for a final try, flanker Conor Scott the man to dot down. The faultless Ireland converted and then kicked another penalty to round off the scoring.
Huddersfield produced some bright attacking play, dynamic chance creation and resilience but defensive errors against a well drilled Tigers team was their undoing.
Field are next in North 2 action at Fylde on 4th November. Director of Rugby Neil Ryan still feels positive and said, ‘ We now have a two week lay off and the lads can take a well deserved break but we will stay close as a group and hopefully come back firing.’
Huddersfield: Stewart K; Ryder; Workman; Barber; Stewart F; Gallagher; Walker; Thompson; Moore; Whitfield; Barnard; Dawson; Myers; Parffit; Hammond. Replacements: Rollins; Harrison; Davis; Horsfall;
Written by Daniel Allerton
Photos by Ray Morris