SKIPPER Nick Sharpe will be calling for maximum effort from his teammates tonight when Huddersfield attempt to defend the Yorkshire Cup against semi-final visitors Wharfedale (7.15).
Although Huddersfield are current holders of the famous old trophy, they will still start as second favourites against the North Yorkshire club, who are in the League above Sharpe’s side where they have finished in a mid-table position in National I.
Head coach Dan Hyde – who pulled a hamstring during Saturday’s 17-6 defeat to Stockport and is definitely out of the equation – has named a strong front five for this all-important clash with tough props Tony Stringwell and Laurence Sanderson starting either side of James Davies.
And with Hull-based Lee Brown dashing over to join Gavin Rhodes in the second row, Huddersfield are clearly showing their intent on hanging on to t’owd tin pot, which they lifted last year with a brilliant 25-18 victory over Hull at York.
“We are relishing being the underdogs and the lads are just going to go out there and give it their all tonight,” said Hyde.
“We certainly need to be a bit more streetwise than we were last Saturday against Stockport, and we must try to negate Wharfedale’s attacking strengths.
“Tony (Stringwell) and Laurence (Sanderson) are back to give us that stability in the front row and, although we’ll start as underdogs, I’d back our front five against most packs.
“The youngsters who have played recently like Paul Armitage and Ed Birkhead have done a great job for us, and showed they have a real future at the club.
“But they are obviously still learning the ropes and hopefully they will take a lot away from the experience they have gained in the last few games.
“Tonight, however, is a massive game, and we need as much experience in the side as possible.
“We would dearly love to get back to the final and try to retain the Cup, and as I’ve said the players will be giving it everything they’ve got to try to make that dream come true.”
Last year Huddersfield hammered Wharfedale 51-13, also in the semi-final at Lockwood Park, but this year’s clash is likely to be much different, as the Dalesmen sent down very much a second string 12 months ago as their first team were still involved in a relegation scrap. Tonight’s tie promises to be a different proposition.
Huddersfield: Owen; Hall, Clark, B Paxman, Ryder; Johnson, Hinchliffe; Stringwell, Davies, Sanderson, Brown, Rhodes, Hinchliff, Hoyle, Sharpe. Subs: Armitage, Birkhead, Lancaster, Black, Duffy, Knight, M Johnson.