Huddersfield RU 15
(National II North)
A 15-MINUTE period at the start of the second half wrecked Huddersfield’s chances of notching a ‘double’ over visiting Caldy at Lockwood Park.
Going into the interval all square at 8-8, hopes were high that Huddersfield could get back on the winning track and perhaps repeat their 32-17 victory over the Wirral outfit from earlier in the season.
But those hopes were shattered from the re-start when Caldy came out all guns blazing and ran in three converted tries in a little over 14 minutes of mayhem.
Their speedy three-quarters, led by powerful centre Gavin Roberts were quickly out of the blocks, from the kick-off, and it was Roberts who, having made the first incision, then finished off a move to bag his second try of the afternoon.
And less than five minutes later, another yawning gap in Huddersfield’s defence allowed visiting full-back Ben MacPherson to slice through near the posts for their third try before left winger Andrew Soutar scooted over in the corner with no-one within 15 yards of him.
Stand-off Richard Vasey converted all three scores – the latter from the touchline – by which time Caldy were out of sight.
Coach Mark Sowerby rang the changes, bringing on Mark Whitehead and Donovan van Vuuren for Dan Hyde and Adam Sutcliffe, shortly followed by Francis Entressengle and Jack McPhail who replaced James Davies and Alex Battye, but by then the damage had been done and the contest was over.
Caldy’s giant replacement second row Paul Arnold took advantage of a juggled ball to pounce for his 20th try of the season for the visitors, again converted by Vasey, and although Huddersfield substitute, skipper Mark Whitehead scooped up a bouncing pass to go over for the home side, it was little more than a consolation.
It had all started so well for Field with Chris Johnson putting them ahead on seven minutes with a penalty, which was perhaps less than they deserved after tearing into the opposition from the off and putting on plenty of pressure with some quickly recycled ball.
But then came the first warning as Caldy took advantage of spilt ball and Roberts picked up at pace and blasted through two would-be tacklers before chasing 40 yards for his side’s opening try.
Vasey missed the conversion, but did knock over a penalty on 15 minutes when Huddersfield were caught offside. And they continued to pose a huge threat down the left flank with centres and wing combining well.
Joel Hinchliffe, Hyde and Nick Sharpe relieved the pressure with a dart down the touchline, only to be brought back 35 yards and then awarded a penalty which seemed a strange decision. However, they were quickly back on attack and the half ended as it had started with pressure on the Caldy line.
And this time it paid off, after good word from James Wood and Ben Paxman set up the position for Johnson to hurl out a pass to the unmarked Sutcliffe who gratefully accepted it and dived over in the corner to level.
Indeed, Huddersfield were rather unlucky not to go in leading as on the last play of the half, Ben Harris and Sharpe drove their way back towards the line and centre Matt Clarke skipped inside to the tryline, but was adjudged to have been held up, although those closer to the line suggested he had indeed grounded the ball.
The main consolation is that the game was the last match Huddersfield had to tackle one of the ‘top four’ this season, and the hope remains they pick themselves up for lesser opponents in the coming weeks as they bid to stay out of the relegation zone.
Huddersfield: Owen; Wood, Clarke (Duffy 69), Paxman, Sutcliffe (van Vuuren 50), Johnson, Hinchliffe; Battye (McPhail 64), Davies (Entressengle 64), Stringwell, Harris, Rhodes, Sharpe, Lewis, Hyde (Whitehead 50).
Caldy: MacPherson, Soutar, Roberts, Woof, Kerfoot, Vasey, Broxson, Woods, Dowridge, Parker, Collister, Nugent, Lyon, Dickinson, Smithson. Subs: Turner, Ince, Arnold, Sewell, Cooper.
Referee: Andrew Jackson (Ilkeston).
YMCA slipped to a narrow 15-13 defeat at home to Leodiensians in Yorkshire II – report in tomorrow’s Examiner Sport.