HAMISH PRATT'S hopes of reaching a memorable milestone might have been ended by a big hit from one of his own teammates.
But fellow Huddersfield RU player Jon Prescott is in sight of reaching another.
Kiwi forward Pratt, who is also the club's general manager, had been hoping to play every minute of every match this season.
But after 78 minutes of Saturday's tight Powergen North I clash at Altrincham Kersal, his 22nd outing in friendlies, league and Powergen Intermediate Cup, the energetic flanker was forced off with damaged ribs.
Ironically, the damage was done by Huddersfield prop Jim Howard.
"I was closing down one of their guys and Jim came in on my blindside with a massive hit," recalled Pratt, who sat in pain on the sidelines as 10 minutes of stoppage time passed before Huddersfield could boast their 9-0 victory.
"It was pretty painful at the time, but it was a complete accident, and as a rugby player, it's really an occupational hazard."
Pratt, now in his sixth season at the club, added: "One of my ribs popped out a bit, and with something like this, there's not much you can do except rest, try not to laugh and let nature take its course.
"It is frustrating, because after Lee Paxman got injured against Longton, I was the only player who could have featured in every game.
"While I enjoy my off-pitch duties at the club, I'm a rugby player first and foremost, and there's nothing better than getting out there on a Saturday afternoon.
"It's even more enjoyable when you're winning (Saturday's was a third successive victory for Pratt and Co), and it's fair to say there's a great buzz around the place just now."
Pratt's was the latest in a string of injuries to pose problems for director of rugby Mike Lumley.
But the recent record, which has put Huddersfield in fifth place, pays testament to the depth of the squad and the versatility of its members.
"It's great that we have had the guys to come in," continued Pratt.
"Mark Saltmarsh did it against Longton, Jim Howard did it against Altrincham, and having already turned out on the wing and as a flanker, Mark Whitehead played in the centres and did well."
Prescott, who was on the bench in Cheshire, is another man whose versatility and enthusiasm make him a great man to have around.
While Pratt is a mere 32, Prescott is 40 on Monday, so could yet join the ranks of those who have played for the firsts in their fifth decade.
"JP's a great club man, and along with the likes of Richard Baxter and Steve Lynch (who both played at Altrincham) is a real stalwart.
"All those three were central figures in the side when I first came to Huddersfield, and all three of them are still going strong.
"JP has fought his way back to fitness after having problems with his knees and he's still one of the fittest blokes we have.
"He's also heavily involved with the minis and juniors, so he's playing a key role in ensuring the continued good health of the club."