By Patrick Moore
Huddersfield RU impressively continued their 100% start to the season with a stunning 58-9 win at Ilkley.
Elliot Hodgson scored a second-half hat trick to ensure the five-point win after Danny Grainger, Brandon Conway, Nick Sharpe and Austen Thompson scored to put Huddersfield comfortably ahead.
It was an eighth successive win for Gareth Lewis’s side in all competitions to keep them top of National III North.
On a perfect playing surface, the home side opened the scoring early on through captain Joe Rowntree’s questionable penalty, but it was to be the first and last time Ilkley went ahead.
The Field responded well and Chris Bell levelled with a penalty to set his side up for a dominant show.
After Ilkley had a scrum in their own 22, Adam Tamanis overturned the ball and it was worked to the right for Grainger to go over in the corner. Bell converted brilliantly.
When in possession in the next phase, Field were awarded a penalty and Bell found the target from long range.
Ilkley, though, were given their own penalty minutes later and Rowntree put over his second kick.
It wasn’t long until Huddersfield found the whitewash again, with Hodgson’s bursting run allowing Conway to go over in the opposite corner. Bell added the three, as ever.
Lewis’s team were made to work hard through a tough spell and dealt well with a succession of phases from Ilkley, remaining strong defensively through the pack.
Rowntree did get his third penalty from as many attempts, but the Field took control from then on and never looked back.
After missing a penalty, Bell made amends by putting the ball between the posts on the half time whistle to give the Field breathing space as they headed into the break.
A driving maul within minutes of the re-start gave space for the ever-present Nick Sharpe to go over and his try was converted.
Ilkley showed some resistance, but Thompson finally broke their defence again.
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His try was converted and with the match already won, Huddersfield were searching for their fourth consecutive bonus-point win of the season.
That was made possible, and with ease, when Hodgson’s perfectly-timed interception allowed him to run free and he went under the sticks to give Bell an easy conversion.
Although Adam Malthouse was sin-binned, Hodgson was to go over again minutes later and then he made it his hat trick when strong in the tackle near the try-line.
Bell’s conversions made the score 58-9 on a near-perfect afternoon for Huddersfield.
“I’m extremely pleased how it hasgone,” said Lewis. “I feel we’re getting better each week and some of the tries we scored were fantastic.
“The way we finished the game, especially in the last 10 to 15 minutes, was very impressive.
“What pleased me the most over anything, though, was the defence. To concede only nine points and no tries yet again shows how much effort we’ve put in.
“The result is an absolute credit to the boys.
“We’ve kept our standards high and made sure every individual outplays their opposite number.”