SOMETHING has got to give tomorrow when Huddersfield and Kendal put their season’s unbeaten records on the line at Lockwood Park (3.00).
Both teams have won their six North I fixtures (and their respective EDF Cup-ties) leaving Huddersfield second in the table, only by virtue of having an inferior points-difference tally to their Cumbrian visitors.
But Huddersfield’s coach and director of rugby Mark Sowerby knows full well that his side must step up a level tomorrow if they are to maintain their unbeaten record and take over at the top of the table.
“We may have won our opening six League games and the Cup-tie against Shelford, which is all very nice, but I’ll be the first to admit we have got away with the odd result here and there this season,” confessed Sowerby.
“I make no apologies for repeating myself because I’ve said it before: we have done well in spells this season, but we have still to produce it for the full 80 minutes!
“We were in total charge last week at Darlington, but we didn’t score anywhere near as many points as we should have done. I don’t know whether that’s down to lack of intensity and desire, but if we continue like that, we will get beaten.
“I still don’t think we have hit top gear yet. But this squad has been together long enough now, and it’s time to front up.
“Having said that, I’m full of confidence. If we can turn up and play like I know we are capable of doing, then I’m sure we can win tomorrow.
“Kendal were a team that struggled at times on the road last year, but they have certainly strengthened this time, with South African Ian Voortman bringing his experience from Sedgley Park to skipper the side.”
For Field, Rugby Development officer Hamish Pratt is still struggling with his shoulder injury so is still not in line for a return, while promising young back Tom Ainsworth is unavailable this week, so Kiwi utility back Rob McLaren moves to No15, while Alex Shaw returns to the wing after missing last week’s win in the North East.
Sowerby’s pack is undoubtedly stronger than last year’s, and defensively the side are quite tight, which they will need to be against Kendal’s free-scoring team, but it is in the backs where Huddersfield may be a bit short of pace and will have to be extra vigilant if they are going to extend their winning sequence to eight.
HOW THEY LINE UP
Huddersfield – McLaren, Shaw, Paxman (L), Mortimore, Paxman (B); Clayton, Johnson; Howard, Davies, Stringwell, Hinchliff, Rhodes, Harris, Whitehead, Sowerby. Subs: McPhail, Wilson, Gough.
Kendal – Moore, Park, Bester, Voortman, Ladell (L); Stephens, Ladell (J); Coxon, Geen, Harryman, Hayton, Gore, Wilson, McKain, Quarry (R). Subs: Quarry (A), Holmes, Michelini.
Huddersfield A – (Castleford, away, meet 1,00): Rothery, Gledhill, Prescott, Lockwood, Stubley, Wood, Cleave, Nixon, Hayes, Ellis, Baxter, Cundle, Hirst, Littlewood, Lancaster. Subs: Stead, Rotchell, Grimes, Hanks.
Huddersfield Academy – (Roundhegians, away Sunday, meet 10.15): Mason, Hornsby, Cox, Booth, Brook, Calverly, Ervine, Quarmby, Entressangle, Slater, Bolland, Stephan, Smith, Haigh, Rodgers. Subs: Perry, Smith, Battey, Brook, Clarkson.