Huddersfield RU remain bottom of National II North following a narrow 25-19 loss to third-placed Stourbridge – but there was plenty of encouragement in the performance.
Field were 16-7 up at half time after a brilliant first-half performance, but failed to hold on to get the much needed points.
Head coach Gareth Lewis named himself on the bench after a series of injuries, suspensions and illnesses hit the team.
Chris Bell, who played as inside-centre due to Tom Owen’s illness, hit an early penalty before setting up Nick Rhodes with a kick through the heart of the defence, and he made no mistake to register the first try.
More pressure from Huddersfield, playing strongly, forced another penalty, but Bell was off target.
Minutes later Stourbridge went under the posts and converted easily, but Bell more than made up for his missed penalty by scoring another two before half time.
An early penalty and converted try from Stourbridge in the second half gave the favourites a 17-16 lead, but Huddersfield never looked out of the game and Bell converted yet another penalty to put his side in front again.
Another penalty was given to Stourbridge with 10 minutes left and they made no mistake in regaining the lead.
Then, with the last play, the home side scored a try to give Field no chance of a reply.
Lewis explained: “The boys are obviously gutted.
“We dominated large parts of the game once again. To hear the opposition ask ‘Why are you bottom of the league?’ again makes it even more frustrating that we’re losing. There’s little consolation really.”
He added: “The first half was at a high tempo. They played with a lot of width but I thought we defended heroically. We had great line speed and aggression.
“Nick Rhodes took his try brilliantly after a superb little chip over the line. They came out with a tighter game plan in the second half, but I still thought our scrum, driving maul and line-outs were the best they’ve been in a long time. We really asked questions of Stourbridge.
“Our width, skill level and tempo were the best they’ve been all season, and we will upset teams above if we play like this each week – I have no doubt about that.
“It’s another tough one to take, but I’m incredibly proud of the lads and this is another step forward.”
Huddersfield face a tough task to stay in the division, but with performances like this it’s still very much in their own hands.
Second-placed Sedgeley Park are at Lockwood Park on Saturday.
“Each week the confidence is growing in the lads” said Lewis. “Sedgeley Park are obviously pushing hard for promotion but they won’t relish coming to Lockwood Park.”
Huddersfield: Hodson, Fletcher, Kanouras, Bell, Workman, Hinchliffe, Jeffrey, Battye, Bradley, Tamanis, N Rhodes, G Rhodes, Parfitt, Hoyle, Malthouse. Bench – Walker, Baxter, Lewis, Clarke, Grainger. Replacements – Baxter for Tamanis, Tamanis for Baxter.