Huddersfield RU 26
(National II North)
VICTORY at last!
Huddersfield finally broke their duck this season with a tremendous second-half comeback to grab their first win of the season.
And there was no disguising the delight on the faces of the players (and coaches) at the final whistle as they overturned a 21-point deficit to land a big ‘W’ and five very welcome League points.
It really was the classic game of two halves, with Hull dominating the opening 36 minutes of the contest before Huddersfield took almost complete control in the second period, when they nilled their east coast visitors.
I think there would be few in the ground who would have given Huddersfield a ‘snowball’s chance in a warm place’ after Hull had rampaged through the home defence three times inside the opening 24 minutes to open up a 21-0 lead.
During that opening quarter Huddersfield were guilty of some slack tackling and aimless kicking away of possession.
Indeed it was 17 minutes before the ball was actually passed to anyone as the boot seemed the preferred method.
Three penalties inside the first three minutes ensured Hull were ensconced in Huddersfield’s 22 and their first try came from full-back Jim Wigglesworth, who was adjudged to have grounded the ball over the line by the touch judge after referee Graham Dickens had initially ruled he was held up.
Centre Matthew White jinked his way through for Hull’s second, and then George Hinchliff missed a crucial tackle on fly-half Tom Barrett who scampered in for try No3.
He also added three conversions and it looked to have virtually put the visitors out of sight.
A Joel Hinchliffe penalty on the half-hour at least put his side on the board, although at that stage it looked no more than a token gesture.
But finally the home crowd had something to cheer, when on 36 minutes Huddersfield eventually chose to run with the ball, and when full-back Tom Owen – who had a superb game – hit the line at pace, he blazed through a gap before off-loading to winger Ben Mitchell who went over in the corner.
Although Hinchliffe couldn’t convert from the touchline, at least Field were back in with a shout at 21-8 by the interval.
Clearly the home side had to score first in the second half if they were to retain their toe-hold on the match, and this they did within two minutes of the restart.
Once again full-back Owen was very much involved as the ball went quickly through the hands from Hinchliffe to Owen, who again fed Mitchell to scoot down the line for his second try.
Alex Battye was now introduced into the front row in place of Lawrence Sanderson and immediately fired up the pack as Hull found themselves on the back foot.
Ben Hoyle came on for Gavin Rhodes and suddenly it was all Huddersfield as Owen cut through another gap to grab a deserved try of his own, and cut the deficit to 21-18.
Constant pressure was now telling on Hull as big second rower Chris Murphy was yellow-carded, and with 10 minutes remaining Huddersfield hit the front when the forwards shoved the visitors backwards, and prop Tony Stringwell got the all-important touch down for the fourth try.
Hinchliffe was unfortunately wide of the mark with his fourth conversion attempt leaving Huddersfield with just a slender two-point lead, but a late penalty knocked over by scrum half Chris Duffy gave them added breathing space before the final whistle signalled both relief and jubilation.
“I was delighted with the way we played in the second half,” said coach Dan Hyde.
“I was really proud of the lads and thought we thoroughly deserved the victory.
“Hopefully we can now kick on. We have Stockport away next week and that is another game we should be winning.”
Huddersfield: Owen; Booth, Clark, Paxman, Mitchell, Hinchliffe, Duffy; Stringwell, Murphy, Sanderson, N Rhodes, G Rhodes, Hinchliff, Lewis, Sharpe. Subs used: Battye, Hoyle.
Referee: Graham Dickens (Derby).