Huddersfield YMCA are determined to be quicker out of the blocks in a bid to avoid a repeat of their woes of a week ago.

The men from Laund Hill make the long trip to the north east tomorrow to face Billingham, with bitter memories of their 29-21 National III North home defeat to Sheffield Tigers fresh in their minds.

The YMCA only had themselves to blame for last week’s reverse, gifting the Tigers a 17-point lead after just 11 minutes and being forced to play catch-up.

Player-coach Mark Whitehead’s side did make a good fist of trying to claw their way back and did, in fact, take the lead for a short second-half spell.

But in the end, their efforts to fight back took their toll, with the Tigers striking late to seal the victory and deny the YMCA a bonus point in the process.

And Whitehead admitted that hurt.

“I’m 100% convinced we’d have won that game if it hadn’t been for that awful start,” said Whitehead.

“You just can’t afford to gift a side like Sheffield Tigers a 17-point lead, although fair play to the boys for the way they battled back and so nearly clinched it.

“But we know if there’s a repeat at Billingham we’ll potentially be heading for another defeat.

“So this week we’ve spent a fair amount of time focusing on starting strongly and giving ourselves the best possible chance later in the game.

“We know we’re good enough to go there and win.”

 

The Huddersfield side will, however, have to win without in-form strike centre Adam Ryder, who’s unavailable this weekend.

But with prop Josh Wrafter back in the starting line-up after a late call to the bench last week and fellow front-rower Sam Slater returning after injury, the visitors are guaranteed more presence up front, while Lloyd Bentley returns on the wing following his bout of concussion and 17-year-old Sam Fletcher retains his place at full-back.

“Our young pack did a good job last week, but with the make-up of the forwards this week we know we can do even better,” added Whitehead.

“And even though we’ll miss Adam Ryder, we’ve still got an exciting backline at our disposal.

“Lloyd ended up not playing against the Tigers, because he decided he needed an extra week to get himself right. He’s right now.

“And even if Adam had been available, we’d have still kept young Sam in the team after such an encouraging debut last week.

“There’s no doubt he’s a player with a tremendous amount of potential, He’s got great pace and very good rugby knowledge for a 17-year-old.

“I think we’re all looking forward to seeing him play again.”

Huddersfield YMCA: Wrafter, Hill, Stu Dyke, Housley, Whitehead, Hodge, Lumb; Wilson, Clarke; Bentley, Van Rooyen, Stead, Bulloch; Fletcher. Subs: Slater, Robertson, Wood.