Huddersfield YMCA got off to a shaky start in their quest for honours in National III North, being beaten 29-15 away at newly-promoted Sheffield.
The Laund Hill outfit have not been helped with key players not available for the early part of the season – as this was a match that YM were more than capable of winning with a full-strength team on show.
Problems with ball retention and an inability to win line-out ball were the main contributing factors, but YM got off to a good start applying early pressure and being awarded a penalty.
They elected to kick into touch to try and force a catch and drive over the Sheffield line, but failed to capitalise on the position as they lost the ball in the lineout. Sheffield got to grips with the game and forced the visitors back and, while YM managed to recover the ball a couple of times to relieve the pressure, they were quickly back defending after failing to retain possession.
Sheffield eventually made the breakthrough with a try by their fly half Conville and full back Hodgson added the goal.
YM hit back and good work by the forwards allowed James Bell to get his side on the scoreboard, but without a recognised kicker Sam Fletcher had a go at the conversion but it drifted wide.
Sheffield extended their lead when centre Lee Sanders found a gap in the YM defence to scoot over the line and, while the conversion was missed, the home side kept up the pressure and scored again when their other centre, Cribley, added to his side’s tally.
Again the goal attempt failed and Hodgson missed again after Sheffield’s back rower Tom Womack forced his way over the line to make the half-time score 22-5.
The second half picked up where the first had left off with Sheffield again on the attack and Hodgson was on target with the conversion after No8 France has crossed.
It left YM playing for pride and a number of substitutions were made, with new signing Seif making an impact when he went on.
The visitors seemed to rally and started to put some decent play together, with the forwards driving with purpose and bossing the scrums.
The forwards started to grind it out and forced the home side back, with Bell leading the charge.
The visitors continued to press and were eventually rewarded when the forwards won the ball, leaving space out wide for Adam Ryder to take on his opposite number and beat him to get the YM back on the scoreboard, but the conversion was missed once again.
Sheffield went on the attack again but the visitors defended well.
A late surge saw the YMCA forwards doing damage, driving upfield, until Simon Wilson was in a position to release the ball down the line leaving newcomer Berry to finish in the corner.
The try was not converted and the home side held on to secure a 29-15 victory.
Huddersfield YMCA: Fletcher; Ryder, Berry, Bentley, Bulloch; Morton, Wilson; Moore, Hill, Wrafter, Housley, Robertson, Bell, Hodge, Broughton. Interchange; Seif, Watson, Slater