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Huddersfield Rugby Union Club so solid in victory at Preston Grasshoppers

Coach Gareth Lewis promises intensive training

Nick Sharpe opened the scoring for Huddersfield against Preston Grasshoppers

Head coach Gareth Lewis was happy with a “solid performance” as Huddersfield Rugby Union Club defeated Preston Grasshoppers in their opening warm-up match.

Field won 29-19 at Lightfoot Green as they begin preparations for the National II North season, which starts at South Leicester on Saturday, September 2.

Lewis said: “For our first pre-season game, I thought it was a solid performance.

“All 25 players got valuable minutes under their belt and it was good to see our more experienced players combining with our younger players.

“There were a number of positives, but more importantly we’ve now highlighted key areas we must improve upon.

“This week, training will be intense and we will prepare well for our second pre-season against Pocklington at Lockwood Park on Saturday.”

Field had by far the better of the early exchanges at Preston and were two tries to the good after 10 minutes.

Nick Sharpe was first to cross the whitewash, diving over from close range after a succession of driving mauls, with Danny Grainger adding the second when he rounded off a nice move wide right, following a solid scrummage inside the Hoppers 22.

With the Huddersfield pack looking solid and their backs showing a readiness to run the ball, coach Lewis decided to make some wholesale personnel changes and try out some different combinations on 20 minutes.

Although his side continued to play well, it was the Hoppers who scored next when flanker Matthew Frins went in at the corner, following a good five-metre lineout.

However, when Adam Malthouse crashed over after a good Huddersfield lineout in the opposite corner, the 10-point lead was restored and held until the interval, despite some strong pressure from the home team.

Huddersfield RUFC's Adam Malthouse dives in for a try

At the start of the second half, Hoppers started to call the shots and put the Field defence to the test.

Despite a heavy penalty count against them for breakdown infringement, the Field defence proved extremely resilient, with a succession of fine tackles thwarting the home side’s attacking ambitions.

On 65 minutes, though, full back Will Hunt found a way through to score under the posts, with the conversion narrowing the gap to three points.

From the re-start Hoppers contrived to knock-on and then handle in an offside position.

From the resulting penalty, Huddersfield’s quick-thinking scrum half Joel Hinchliffe wasted no time in taking the tap to dart through for a try in centre field, which Lewis Workman converted.

More Huddersfield quick thinking was to follow.

A tap penalty on the Preston 10m line led to a fine right-wing break with Sharpe adding his second try of the match, taking full advantage of quick ruck ball at the breakdown 5m out.

A Ben Madden try in the final moment for Hoppers brought the game to an end.

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