SOME of his side may have been bloodied, but they certainly remained unbowed after being edged out of a victory against high-flying Caldy seven days ago.
And that definitely delighted head coach Dan Hyde despite his men coming out of the clash with just one bonus point instead of four points for the win.
Chris Johnson (who scored all the side’s 25 points) looked to have sealed victory when he dropped a goal four minutes from time to put Huddersfield two points in front, only for his opposite number to send a long-range penalty creeping over the bar in injury time to steal the win.
“The lads were absolutely gutted at having lost when they came off the field, which I think speaks volumes for the progress this team has, and is continuing to make,” admitted Hyde.
“A couple of years ago, we would never have considered being able to live with the top sides in this league (National II North), but now, the guys can not only compete with the best sides in the league, but are also now expecting to beat them!
“The average age of the squad is very young, and the guys coming continuing to come through the Academy is testimony to the work of previous coach Mark Sowerby and the rest of the coaching team through the various age groups at Huddersfield.
“However, after finally making the step up into the National Leagues, we did find ourselves in the position that each season was virtually a survival test. But a couple of years ago we started to build a more solid foundation, which filtered down through the club and now I believe we are miles away from that survival mode.
“At one stage we had a regular starting 15 in which our substitutes were only brought on for injuries, but now we are trying to rotate players in order to give as many of our first team squad as much game time as possible.
“We sat down for a meeting before the start of this season to discuss our expectations this year, and consequently we are now approaching every game with the mindset that we can win. And we now all that if we play to our potential and stick to the game plan, that we should win them.
“Certainly the Yorkshire Cup win over Hull in the final earlier this year has instilled a bit more confidence in the team, but the true test is being able to maintain that sort of consistency throughout the entire season.”
Hyde and his fellow coach Ian Shuttleworth were brought to the club by predecessor Sowerby when things turned ‘sour’ at their previous club Otley, and undoubtedly their influence has certainly helped the first team and the club in general move up another gear.
“I’ve always put my body on the line for the team as did Ian, both of us trying to show true Yorkshire grit, but events at Otley meant we both lost our focus and appetite for the game.
“However, since coming back to Huddersfield – Hyde was born and bred in Holmfirth and came up through the Colts system at Huddersfield – it has renewed my faith in rugby.
“It was great to play as a professional at Leeds Carnegie and Otley, but then to come back to Huddersfield where there is a bunch of guys who are so willing to learn, is just so refreshing.
“After the downside side and the turmoil when Ian and I left Otley, the chance to work with this group of players we have now down at Lockwood Park has re-invigorated my passion for the game.”
Hyde has made no secret of the fact that he plans the fixtures in sets of six, and he will not be too disappointed at having claimed three wins and a draw at Loughborough Students in his opening ‘six-pack.’
Today sees the start of another set, when renewing their long-standing rivalry with Kendal at Mint Bridge, followed by games against Leicester Lions (h), Bromsgrove (a), Westoe (h), Sheffield Tigers (a) and Harrogate (h). And a similar return should see them consolidating a top six spot.