Huddersfield rallied after another of their trademark poor starts in their National 2 North game at Otley. First half tries by Liam Parfitt, George Collins and Thiu Barnard for Huddersfield made the score 24 21 to Otley at the interval with all to play for in the second period. However defensive lapses after the break saw the game slip from Huddersfield’s grasp with a late bonus point try by Luke Pearson providing scant consolation for the half time promise.
Otley were two tries up inside ten minutes and had secured the try scoring bonus point by the half hour. Having dominated the opening spell Otley flanker Sam Waddington crossed in the corner after a solid scrum inside the Field 22. Number 8 Chris Jackson got the second, cruising in between the posts after Field were stripped of possession when trying to counter. Gavin Stead then landed the first of his five conversions.
Field opened their account on 20 minutes from their first real spell in possession. Ed Barber made a tackle bursting break and the ball was worked to the right wing where Otley’s Louis Martin earned himself a yellow card for a deliberate knock on. The penalty took play 10 metres from the Otley line and Liam Parfitt touched down behind a well driven maul from the lineout. Simon Wilson kicked a fine conversion.
The momentum shift was temporary. Three minutes later Otley hooker Ryan Gibson scored, cashing in on an offload after some poor defensive work by Field and winger Sam Taylor then raced on to a long kick through the Field line for the bonus point try. Another conversion by Stead took the score to 24 7 on the half hour.
Two tries in the final ten minutes of the first half then put Huddersfield right back in the game. Barber was once again the catalyst with another powerful run. Full back Lewis Workman came into the line in support and he fed centre George Collins on an inside track for the try. Field’s third try was a carbon copy of their first, this time lock Thiu Barnard was the man to round things off. Wilson struck both conversions clean and true to leave Field just 3 points in arrears at half time.
Otley made a good start to the second half and increased their lead with a converted try midway through it. Their scoring move started with a missed tackle on half way by Field and ended with winger Louis Martin racing clear down the touchline.
After the try Field mounted a sustained spell of pressure inside the Otley 22. Scoring opportunities presented themselves from lineouts and Otley were pegged back on their line defending for all they were worth. Their last ditch defence held firm and they eventually managed to clear to the 10 metre line when field were penalised at the breakdown.
Otley produced the decisive killer blows with 10 minutes remaining. They came in the form of a swift one-two. Stead increased the lead by three points when Field were penalised for a high tackle. Wilson’s restart kick didn’t go the full 10 metres, fly half William Martindale ran and gathered the loose ball and raced through unopposed for try.
A seventh Otley try came shortly after the next restart, another missed tackle on half way allowing Taylor to race through to complete his brace. Stead converted both.
The last try of the game was scored by Field with time almost up. Otley were penalised and the kick to touch took play to their 5 metre line. The visitors produced a classic catch and drive set piece move and lock Luke Pearson dotted down with a fine touchline conversion by Wilson rounding off the scoring in the match.
Director of rugby Neil Ryan was disappointed by his team’s performance. He said,’We were poor in most areas, especially in defence and ball retention. It was nice to get four tries but we have much to work on this week.’
Huddersfield host mid-table Tynedale on Saturday. It is a game that they will feel capable of winning but they will have to cut out the unforced errors to secure a much needed third victory.
Huddersfield: Workman; Stewart F; Barber; Collins; Horsfall; Wilson; Walker; Thompson; Myers; Whitfield; Pearson; Barnard; Dawson; Entressengle; Parfitt. Replacements: Rollins; Moore; Nicholson; Nash; Haywood.
Written by Richard Sykes.
Photo by Ray Morris.