HUDDERSFIELD RU have their sights set on another Yorkshire Cup upset tonight.
Mark Sowerby’s men host Harrogate in the first round (7.00) with memories of their 16-14 humbling of Leeds Tykes at the same stage of the famous old competition two years ago still fresh.
Beating National III North rivals Harrogate wouldn’t carry quite the same kudos, but after nine league games without a win (their latest outing was a 42-22 defeat at leaders Nuneaton on Saturday), a knockout triumph would come as a major tonic.
Unlike some years – Leeds scored a 47-9 revenge win over a weakened Huddersfield last season – Sowerby is able to send out a strong side tonight, with only scrum half Steve Rothery not a member of the first-team squad (neither Damian Clayton nor Joel Hinchliffe are available).
The only other major change involves front-row deputy Sam Slater getting a starting slot in place of the unavailable Jack McPhail.
George Hinchliff continues in the second row alongside Gavin Rhodes, with Ben Harris having played for Yorkshire Under 20s on Sunday.
Huddersfield took an early lead at Nuneaton, coached by Samoan international and former Halifax rugby league player Mike Umaga, with skipper Mark Whitehead crossing and Chris Johnson converting.
But Nuneaton hit back with two tries, one of them goaled, for a 12-7 lead.
Johnson knocked over a penalty and then converted a try by Alex Shaw as Huddersfield again took the lead.
But the home side levelled just before the break and began to gain the upper hand in the second half, when a couple of converted tries and two penalties put them 37-17 in front.
Huddersfield kept plugging away and were rewarded when centre Matt Clark added to his growing reputation with another try.
They continued to have the benefit of plenty of possession, but were unable to breach Nuneaton’s defence again, and the home team added an injury-time score from a line-out.
Nuneaton are seven points clear of nearest rivals Fylde and have two games in hand on them. Huddersfield are third-bottom.
Harrogate, who visit Huddersfield for a league game on Saturday, April 25, are fifth after 37-27 home win over Hull Ionians.
Huddersfield: Paxman (B); Johnson (M), Clark, Paxman (L), Shaw; Johnson (C), Rothery; Slater, Davies, Stringwell, Hinchliff, Rhodes, Jacobsz, Whitehead, Sharpe. Subs: Owen, Gough, Ramsden, Sharrock, Battye.
Harrogate: Dunne; Bottomley, Tattersall, Henry, Fowles; Lancaster, Hargreaves; Browne, Yorke, Reaveley, Johnston, Boyle, Tasker, Dixon, Heaton. Subs: Dunlop, Anderson, Smithies, Leach, Corner.