Huddersfield RU 21
National II North
HUDDERSFIELD maintained their excellent unbeaten record at Luctonians with another sterling performance to grab only their second League victory of the season and their first away from home.
And it came on the back of a poor week’s preparation, with training hit by the freezing conditions and coach Dan Hyde having to select a side without experienced centre Lee Paxman and props Lawrence Sanderson and Tony Stringwell.
To make matters worse, second rower George Hinchliff was stuck in Leeds and missed the early morning coach from Lockwood Park for the long journey down to Herefordshire.
But the incoming players, Ben Bell in the front row and Rob Meakins at centre performed really well as Huddersfield gained the upper hand from the kick-off, despite the home side having the benefit of playing down the slope and with the wind behind them.
Luctonians had the best of it in the scrum where they bossed proceedings, although Bell, hooker Niall Murphy and Alex Battye stuck to their task, while in open play Huddersfield’s defence forced the home side into making a series of errors.
And from one such error, centre Mike Clarke got a boot to a loose ball and Meakins showed his pace to chase the ball down, before putting in another little grubber kick and them picking it up off his laces to scoot under the sticks for an excellent score, to which Luke Booth added the conversion.
As the half wore on Huddersfield were dominating possession, and had a great chance to put on some serious pressure close to the Luctonians line, but having gained a penalty they failed to find touch, and two successive penalties for the home side led to a line-out catch, drive and scrum which yielded a try wide out, leaving Field ahead 7-5 at the break.
Luctonians came out firing on all cylinders to start the second half and they immediately put pressure on the Huddersfield line.
Having being held up over the line, Luctonians had a five-metre scrum, which when it went down resulted in the referee immediately awarding the home side a penalty try. The conversion from in front of the sticks was good and Huddersfield found themselves trailing for the first time in the match.
Elliott Knight replaced Clarke, while the excellent Booth moved to outside centre and Hyde replaced Nick Rhodes, moving to No8 and pushing Nick Sharpe up into the row. Huddersfield now began to work down-field, and from a well-executed line-out, they drove Luctonians backwards and Sharpe went over for his fifth try of the season.
Unfortunately, Booth’s attempted conversion hit the post, but at least parity had been restored with just under 15 minutes remaining and Huddersfield then set about taking possession, drilling it into the corners and pegging Luctonians back inside their own 22.
And the tactics worked perfectly, as the home side became frustrated and starting to concede a string of penalties which Booth made them suffer on each occasion, slotting over kicks in the 70th, 73rd and 77th minutes to complete a really well-deserved victory.
Huddersfield: Owen, Moon, Clarke, Meakins, Booth; Cole, Hinchliffe; Bell, Murphy, Battye, N Rhodes, G Rhodes, Lewis, Hoyle, Sharpe. Subs: Hyde, Knight, Davies, Shield.