HUDDERSFIELD RU booked a big Yorkshire Cup semi-final showdown with Wharefdale at Lockwood Park – but only after making hard work of their clash with Old Brodleians.
Backed by their vociferous supporters, the North I East side mounted an enthusiastic challenge against opponents two rungs above them on the league ladder, and Dan Hyde’s men needed a second try by Simon Pratt in time added on to clinch their 18-7 victory.
“We knew it was a potential banana skin and although we slipped about on it, we didn’t quite land on our backsides,” said a relieved Hyde.
“All credit to Brods. It was their cup final and they played very well.”
Brods took the game to Huddersfield from the kick-off, and it took a strong break-out run by winger David Hall to ease the early pressure.
Chris Johnson put the home side ahead with a 21st-minute penalty and six minutes later, was involved in the build-up which led to left winger Pratt scything through the visitors’ defence to cross in the right corner.
Johnson knocked over a super touchline conversion and at that point it seemed Huddersfield were up and running.
But Brods had other ideas and helped by some hesitant tackling, hit back when experienced winger James Marshall cut in from the wing, wrong-footing two tacklers, and went in under the sticks for a try converted by Rob Jennings.
Ex-Brods hooker Ben Morrill replaced Adam Lancaster for the second half, while James Davies and Chris Duffy came on for Tony Stringwell and Joel Hinchliffe shortly after the restart.
Duffy’s contribution was limited by a sin-binning while Davies almost notched a second try, only to be held up on the line by a resolute Brods defence which came under more and more pressure as the half wore on, with good runs coming from Hall, full-back Tom Owen, Lee Paxman and Mike Clarke.
Skipper Nick Sharpe was another player to cross the whitewash only to be denied a grounding, but a second penalty from Johnson put Huddersfield six points in front.
Flanker Gavin Rhodes was the next player to incur referee Terry Garnett’s yellow-card wrath and Brods, sensing their chance, piled in as they sensed an against-the-odds win
But with all 15 players committed to attack, Johnson got the ball and speared it fully 70 yards downfield.
Two plays later, after moving the ball back and forth across the park, Pratt scooted through the tiring defence to make the game safe.
Huddersfield: Owen; Hall, Clarke (Sutcliffe, 62mins), L Paxman, Pratt; Johnson, Hinchliffe (Duffy, 50mins); Battye, Lancaster (Morrill, HT), Stringwell (Davies, 50mins), Brown, Hinchliff, Rhodes, Lewis, Sharpe.
Referee: Terry Garnett (Hull).