Rugby Lions 13
Huddersfield RU 28
(National II North)
HUDDERSFIELD hit top form from the opening whistle as they blitzed Rugby Lions with four converted tries in the first half of this re-arranged clash in Warwickshire.
Unfortunately having virtually wrapped up the game 28-3 by half-time, the visitors ‘switched off’ in the second period allowing Rugby to score a handful of consolation points, but it was still a victory which secured a maximum five points, and saw them move up to 10th in the table.
“I was very pleased with the way we started the game, particularly as we were kept ‘on hold’ by Rugby before we started the journey,” said coach Dan Hyde.
“We were told there might be a problem with the pitch, and we had to sit on the coach half-and-hour while waiting for the outcome, which was not really what we needed, and which resulted in a delayed kick off.
“So it was great to see the lads come out firing right from the first minute. And although I was a bit disappointed in how we performed in the second half, it was still a good effort against a side who, because of their League position (next-to-bottom) have their backs to the wall.”
Huddersfield were over in the 2nd minute of the contest when full-back Tom Owen crossed the line and Chris Johnson added the conversion for a racing start.
Rugby pulled three points back when kicker Chris Brown notched a penalty, but it was to be their only success of the first half as Huddersfield showed strength up front, when skipper Nick Sharpe touched down for his ninth try of the campaign from a pushover close to the Lions’ line.
Johnson again added the extras and had a simple conversion for the third try after centre Lee Paxman’s powerful drive took him under the sticks in the 22nd minute.
Huddersfield continued to pile on the pressure against the relegation-threatened Midlanders, and capped a tremendous first half when fellow centre Dave Hall raced over for his side’s fourth try again converted by Johnson.
James Davies replaced Adam Lancaster at hooker for the start of the second half, while coach Hyde was an early replacement for Gareth Lewis, but in the second half, Huddersfield were more employed on defence than attack as Rugby, with nothing to lose, threw the ball about and managed a couple of unconverted tries from winger Craig Dowsett.
Sam Slater was given a 20-minute run-out for Alex Battye, while Ian Shuttleworth and Steve Rothery both came on for the last 10 minutes to replace Joel Hinchliffe and Dave Hall, while Sharpe had a 10-minute ‘rest’ after becoming the latest in a long line of Huddersfield players to find his name in regular referee Brendan Fitzmaurice’s sin-binning notebook.
Huddersfield: Owen, Clarke, L Paxman, Hall (Shuttleworth 70), Pratt; Johnson, Hinchliffe (Rothery 70); Stringwell, Lancaster (Davies 40), Battye (Slater 61); Brown, Rhodes, Lewis (Hyde 45), Hinchliff, Sharpe.
Referee: Brendan Fitzmaurice (Middlesbrough).