Huddersfield’s defensive frailties exposed by Sheffield’s sprightly backs.
Huddersfield’s run of poor form continued on their away trip to Sheffield where they slumped to their worst defeat of the season. The hosts ran in 11 tries, including 6 by scrum half Elliot Fisher and a hat-trick by wingman Christian Hooper. A Harry Whitfield brace and another try by Lewis Quinn for Field did little to sweeten what was a very bitter pill for them to swallow. They lost 71-19.
Fisher scored his first try 7 minutes into the game, bagged his second 7 minutes later and completed his hat-trick on the half hour. James Flint crossed the whitewash for Sheffield towards the end of the first quarter and Hooper notched his first on 33 minutes. Fisher converted all the first half tries to leave the score at at the interval 35-7 and Field with an uphill battle in the second half.
Although the Sheffield back division, with Fisher pulling the strings , dominated play first half traffic had not been entirely one way. Field made the livelier start and came close in the opening exchanges only to be thwarted five metres out by a penalty concession.
Tom Haywood, playing on the open side flank, made several promising breaks one of which put Whitfield in for his first try close to the posts on 21 minutes which centre Ethan Myers had no difficulty converting.
At the very start of the second half Field’s uphill climb steepened when former Huddersfield man Cameron Catleugh pouched the kick off. The Sheffield full back made a tackle breaking run from deep to set Sheffield’s lively back line in motion again. The passage of play ended with Fisher’s fourth try which he narrowly failed to convert..
Five minutes later Field scored their second try. Sheffield were penalised on half way and the kick took play into their 22. After a successful forward drive following the lineout Number 8 Lewis Quinn dotted down for an unconverted try.
Hope of a revival by the visitors didn’t last long, the home side exposing Field’s defensive frailties with a blitzkrieg which produced four more tries within the space of the next 16 minutes. The ever alert Fisher scored the first and last of them with centre William Smith and Hooper getting the ones in between. Fisher converted two from four.
To their credit Field didn’t give in. Darren Neilly made a fine individual break which held promise but the ball was lost in the support play.
With 10 minutes remaining Sheffield were penalised, a quick tap was taken and the ball was fed to Whitfield who crashed over for his second try which Myers converted.
Although Field pressed for a fourth try and a consolation bonus point it was Sheffield who had the final word. They gained possession and their backs clicked quickly into gear for a final time with Hooper completing his hat-trick in the corner on a comfortable overlap.
Next week Huddersfield host newly promoted Billingham at Lockwood Park. Having now lost eight games on the bounce they will be hoping for a much needed second win.
Huddersfield: Stewart F; Senior; Workman; Myers; Horsfall; Potter; Wilson; Thompson; Moore; Whitfield; Pearson; Barnard; Davis; Haywood; Quinn. Replacements: Rollins; Neilly; Hinchliff;
Written by Richard Sykes.
Photo by Ray Morris