Huddersfield RU 24
National II North
HUDDERSFIELD overcame a lively Luctonians side with a dramatic burst of points at the start of the second half to cap a great comeback and land their ninth victory of the season.
Trailing 8-0 at the break, skipper Nick Sharpe started the fightback with his side’s first try, and his seventh touchdown in seven games, and in the next 13 minutes his side plundered 21 unanswered points to seal an excellent victory over the Herefordshire side who are sixth in the National II North table.
The Lockwood Park side struggled to gain any worthwhile possession in the first 40 minutes, and didn’t help their own cause with a string of penalties, combined with sin-binnings of Dan Hyde and Lee Brown as they trailed the visitors through a penalty from John Morris and an injury time try from second rower Daniel Smith.
But they quickly found their feet after the break, upping the tempo from the re-start and after pulling Luctonians first right and then left, Sharpe was on the end of a crossfield passing move which ended with him going over in the left corner, to which Chris Johnson added an excellent touchline conversion.
And within two minutes they were over again, scrum half Joel Hinchliffe spotting a lack of cover down the blindside of a ruck and when he whipped the ball out to Lee Brown the second rower opened his legs and charged 40 yards down the flank before floating an inside pass to winger Adam Sutcliffe to cross near the posts.
Johnson again added the simple goal and Field were in the lead at 14-8.
Two substitutions, Harry Whitfield coming on for his first team debut and George Hinchliff coming on for Hyde failed to interrupt the flow, and with their tails now well and truly up, hooker Ben Morrill blasted a path down the centre of the field, bursting through five tackles to get a brilliant individual try and virtually make the game safe on 55 minutes.
Johnson added his third conversion and then booted over a penalty 10 minutes later to put sufficient daylight between the sides.
Inside the last 10 minutes, Steve Rothery replaced Johnson, with Hinchliffe dropping back to No10, while Adam Lancaster replaced the hard-working Morrill and James Davies came on for prop Alex Battye.
With so many substitutions, Huddersfield temporarily lost a bit of shape and giant lock Alex Davidson – who had earlier spent 10 minutes in the bin with Brown – managed a late consolation score for the visitors, Morris converting, but it couldn’t detract from what had been a very solid second half showing from the home side.
“We gave away too many penalties in the first half,” agreed skipper Sharpe.
“But when we upped our tempo in the second half, the penalties were cut out and Luctonians struggled to cope with us.”
Huddersfield: Owen; Sutcliffe, Clarke (Whitfield 56), L Paxman, Pratt; Johnson (Rothery 70), Hinchliffe; Stringwell, Morrill (Lancaster 70), Battye (Davies 60), Brown, Rhodes, Sharpe, Lewis, Hyde (Hinchliff 50).
Referee: Dave Edmunds (The Wirral).