THERE’S never been a finish quite like it.
That’s the view of Huddersfield director of rugby Mark Sowerby after helping his side secure a remarkable winning North I fightback at Hull.
With six minutes remaining, the second-placed Lockwood Park side were 22-6 behind and a second League defeat of the campaign seemed the only outcome.
Yet in an astonishing finale, Huddersfield scored one try in normal time through Tom Ainsworth and then two others in injury time through Ben Harris and Mark Whitehead to seal an incredible 25-22 triumph.
If it had been part of a blockbuster movie script, it would have been rejected for being totally unrealistic!
But Huddersfield have now shown that virtually anything is possible, even if it does result in the players leaving the field in a state of shell-shock!
“In 20 years of playing senior rugby, I’ve never known anything quite like it,” said Sowerby.
“And I’m sure I won’t experience anything quite like it again. I’m pretty confident something like this has never been achieved before, I would be amazed if it had.
“To be honest, when we went 22-6 behind late in the game, I thought the game had gone.
“My words to the boys as we were standing behind the posts waiting for the conversion to be taken was to do everything we could to score a late consolation try so we had something positive to take from the game. We had played over 75 minutes without scoring a try, so I thought it would be good if we could break our duck.
“So, with the game seemingly gone, we decided to keep the ball alive in the remaining seconds.
“The results were immediate.
“A couple of minutes later, Tom scored a try and Chris Johnson converted, so at least we got our wish of getting the consolation.
“We knew the game was in injury time at that stage, so we again just decided to keep the ball alive for the sake of it, and again we couldn’t believe what happened.
“Hull were dead on their feet and, by continuing the policy of keeping the ball alive, we almost immediately scored again through Ben. All of a sudden it was 22-18 and the scoreline had gained a bit more respectability.
“But we never thought we would have time to score another.
“Seconds after the restart, the ball went out and we prepared for a line-out just inside the Hull side.
“I asked the referee how long was left, and he said the next stop in play would be the end of the match. Everyone on the field as well aware of the fact.
“We gained possession from the line-out, the ball was fed to Mark and he broke through the cover and charged away to score under the posts for Johnno to add the conversion.
“The only way to describe the feeling was ‘unbelievable’.
“For the first 75 minutes, we had played garbage, it was as simple as that. We certainly didn’t deserve to win.
“But we were obviously very happy to take it, even though we did feel really embarrassed when we walked into the clubhouse after the game. But I suppose we didn’t feel as bad as the Hull boys!
“The key now, of course, is to use this fantastic experience to our advantage.
“The way we fought back clearly shows there’s nothing wrong with the spirit within the squad or the fitness levels and skill levels of the players.
“And it has made me wonder whether we should slightly alter our style of play.
“The way we finished the game shows how effective we can be when we’re on the front foot.
“I know there’s no way we can keep the ball alive for the full 80 minutes, but the boys may now feel more confident playing a more expansive game. It’s a good weapon to have in our armoury.
“Just ask Hull!”