HUDDERSFIELD breezed into the second round of the Yorkshire Cup last night after blitzing a predominantly second-string Harrogate side 51-7 at Lockwood Park.
Fly-half Chris Johnson bagged himself a hat trick of tries on his way to a 31-point haul in a free-flowing performance which delighted the home supporters, starved of a victory since early January.
Huddersfield made a cracking start when George Hinchliff picked up a loose ball, and with Harrogate ball-watching, burst through the middle before linking up with Mark Whitehead, who in turn drew the full-back and sent Chris Johnson in between the sticks for the first score in only the second minute.
Four minutes later the fly-half was over again, this time creating the try himself when he chipped over the defence, got a great bounce to re-gather and shoot under the posts once more.
And when prop Sam Slater finished off a move started by a Nick Sharpe break, the game was just above over as a contest after a mere 10 minutes.
The home side’s fourth try was probably the best as Lee Paxman made the initial thrust from inside his own 22, centre Matt Clarke raced 50-odd yards before off-loading to Whitehead, who turned the Harrogate winger inside out before charging over.
Johnson converted all four tries and at 28-0 it had turned into a stroll.
Ben Paxman concluded the first half scoring when he won the race to a Johnson crossfield kick to touch down in the right corner and send his side in 33-0 ahead at the interval.
Good work from stand-in scrum half Steve Rothery and Alex Shaw ended with Matt Johnson going over for try No 6 early in the second half.
Both sides rung the changes on the bench which probably interrupted Huddersfield’s flow, and eventually Harrogate took advantage when after a series of drives, their big No8 Heaton got the try in the left corner, Owen Lancaster tacking on the extras to break the visitors’ duck.
Sharpe made way for Gavin Rhodes, while Chris Gough replaced hooker James Davies as Huddersfield continued to hold sway, and Johnson took his side past the 40 mark with a penalty.
Chris Johnson completed his hat trick, bullying his way over from close range as Field kept up the pressure, and his conversion and late penalty clocked up the half-century mark.
Huddersfield – Paxman (B); Johnson (M), Clarke, Paxman (L), Shaw; Johnson (C), Rothery; Slater, Davies, Stringwell, Hinchliff, Sharrock, Jacobsz, Whitehead, Sharpe. Subs: Owen, Gough, Ramsden, Rhodes, Battye.
Harrogate – Dunne, Bottomley, Tattersall, Henry, Fowles, Lancaster, Hargreaves, Browne, Yorke, Reaveley, Johnson, Boyle, Tasker, Dickson, Heaton. Subs: Dunlop, Anderson, Smithies, Leach, Corner.
Referee – Dean Walker (South Yorkshire).