A strong performance over the first 70 minutes enabled Huddersfield YMCA to earn a much-needed 36-29 National III North win against Stockport at Laund Hill.
The visitors are now only a place and four points above fourth-bottom YM at the wrong end of the league table.
From the outset YM set the pace with a magnificent display from the forwards creating an excellent platform for the backs.
They were in control throughout, but inexplicably in the last 10 minutes YM’s concentration evaporated, leaving the visitors the opportunity to score four unanswered tries which, together with three conversions, gave them two league bonus points they could only have dreamed about with 10 minutes to go.
Early YM pressure told when centre Adam Ryder crashed over in the corner, Simon Wilson being short with the conversion.
Within minutes, scrum half Wilson was on the scoreboard after a great YM scrum and a neat piece of play from No8 James Bell. Wilson added the extras for a 12-0 lead.
Stockport full-back Platt-Hughes landed a penalty, but strong YM pressure resulted in Ryder going over again and a Wilson kick taking the score to 19-3.
The visitors came back briefly but again went away empty handed and, as the Stockport forwards crumbled in the face of a dominant YM pack, it was only a matter of time before the all important fourth try came into view, this time scored on his debut by open side prop Jamie Twigg, capitalising on the hard work of his fellow forwards.
Wilson was adrift with the conversion but YM had a bonus point in the bag and what appeared to be an unassailable 24-3 half-time lead.
From the re-start it appeared to be more of the same as the home side pressed their advantage.
A great steal in the tackle by Bell led to the ball being taken on by Greg Robertson and Sam Hodge, who was hauled down inches from the line. Quickly recycled, Wilson had time to scoot over but missed the kick (29-3).
YM’s Ledgard was yellow carded after being penalised for failing to retire 10m at a penalty, however his absence did not deflect YM from the task.
Superb play by the forwards and persistent infringement by Stockport led to a penalty try – Bell would have got the score anyway – and Wilson added the extras for 36-3.
Wholesale changes were made by the YM and players were shuffled around in order to accommodate everyone and deal with a number of injuries.
Unfortunately this seemed to throw the YM out of kilter, because what happened next was nothing short of extraordinary.
Time and again, Stockport ran through to score through Longmore, Waddington and two tries from winger Louis Bowman and three conversions from Platt-Hughes.
Stockport were incredibly just seven points adrift which, when added to the tries, brought them two very unexpected league bonus points.
It was still a very much-needed and well-deserved win for the YMCA, but they may rue the lack of concentration at the end which allowed Stockport off the hook and gave them a four-point margin of comfort over the YM in the table, when it should have been reduced to just two.