Leicester Lions 23 Huddersfield RU 15
(National II North)
HUDDERSFIELD’S unbeaten start to the season came to a disappointing end at Leicester Lions with a flat performance which ultimately cost them their place at the head of the league.
For the second time in two seasons Huddersfield failed to get over the tryline at Westleigh Park, having to rely on five penalties from fly-half Chris Johnson, which was almost enough to seal victory, but for a late, somewhat fortuitous try by the Lions with just 10 minutes remaining.
Johnson had put Field in front with two first-half penalties, but those aside, the visitors did not have too much to offer in attack against a big side, who frequently disrupted play, which resulted in the game being very stop-start.
Defensively Huddersfield seemed pretty solid, but Leicester did sneak a try in the closing stages of the half, which was converted, and along with a penalty nudged them into a 10-6 lead at the halfway point.
In the second half, Johnson was again on the mark twice with penalties to put Field back ahead 12-10, but they never really threatened the line as they began to lose their shape and veered away from the game plan.
Both fly-halves swapped further penalties and with 10 minutes to go Huddersfield led 15-13 and it seemed they may hang on, but instead of getting back downfield to play the game out in Leicester’s half, they allowed Lions good field position. And that proved their undoing.
Leicester were rather fortunate, when a kick through took a ricochet off a Huddersfield defender and then set up nicely for the home side to re-gather and go over the visitors’ line for a converted try.
That left Huddersfield having to chase the game in the last few minutes, which proved fruitless, and they were even denied a bonus point when the Lions added another penalty ahead of the final whistle.
“It was a disappointing display all round,” admitted director of rugby, Mark Sowerby.
“Sadly, after going to the top of the League with some very good performances, I think this was a case of ‘after the Lord Mayor’s show’. We were just very flat, and never really got going in the entire game.
“One or two players had a bit of an off day, but in the end we didn’t really front up, and ultimately we got what we deserved.
“We are a long way from being the finished article, and I told the players, ‘you only get out of it what you put in,’ and clearly we didn’t put enough effort in. Consequently we got a kick up the backside!
“Now we must put that behind us, because we have a big game coming up on Saturday at Lockwood Park when we entertain Fylde.”