Stourbridge Saxons 40
(National II North)
FOR almost half an hour Huddersfield matched the unbeaten League-leaders, but in the end they came away with nothing to show for their spirited effort.
Playing with the advantage of a slope in their favour in the first half, Stourbridge took the lead with a penalty try in the 11th minute, converted by full-back James Hearn and never looked back.
Huddersfield struggled to contain Saxons in the set-piece, but although the home team were dominant in the tight phases and enjoyed the majority of possession, they struggled to break down a resolute and well-organised defence.
The score remained 7-0 for 29 minutes before home No8 Drew Harper (Saxons’ leading tryscorer) went over for a converted try and five minutes later hooker Stewart Pearl added a third try leaving Stourbridge 19-0 ahead at half-time.
When Huddersfield did threaten through Scott Benton, the ex-England man was ‘taken out’ illegally, and then had to watch the subsequent penalty reversed when talking to the referee.
Having substituted Niall Murphy for Tom Davies in the first half, Huddersfield made a triple substitution in the second period bringing on Lawrence Sanderson for Alex Battye in the front row, Josh Walker for Scott Benton at scrum half and Rob Meekins for Dan Hyde in the back row.
Flanker James Rodley scored a fourth try for Stourbridge, converted by Hearn and centre Will Ferrell also crossed for a converted score as Huddersfield began to tire.
Substitute Walker had a great chance to finally put some points on the board for Huddersfield after breaking clear down the middle, but was unceremoniously brought down by a high tackle from Ferrell, and the chance was gone.
Ben Bell replaced Tony Stringwell at prop before home skipper Ben Hughes added a last-minute try to round off the scoring.
“I was pleased with the spirit we showed and we did hold them to just seven points for quite a while in the first half,” said coach Hyde.
“I thought Bell made a good impact when he came on in the second half, while Walker also impressed after replacing Benton, but we were up against a very good side, certainly by far and away the best team in the division.
“For the effort we displayed, had we been playing against a lesser side, then I feel we could certainly have got something out of the game.”
Huddersfield: Owen; Moon, Paxman, Clark, Booth; Hinchliffe, Benton; Battye, Murphy, Stringwell, Sharpe, G Rhodes, Hinchliffe, Hoyle, Hyde. Subs: (all used): Sanderson, Walker, Bell, Davies, Meekins.