EVERY game is a ‘big one’ for Huddersfield RUFC in what is their first-ever season in National III North.
Some are just bigger than others, and tomorrow’s visit of Hull Ionians (3.00) certainly falls into that category.
For this game is a definite ‘win possibility’ and should the Lockwood Park side achieve it, then they would leapfrog the Humbersiders into a very comfortable (and much safer) mid-table position.
Hull are currently joint seventh in the table, with 16 points from three wins and a draw, and have so far had a very much up-and-down season with victories overs Preston Grasshoppers, Kendal and Darlington, and pushed leaders Caldy all the way before losing by a solitary point.
But they were very well beaten by Macclesfield, and surprisingly by Bradford & Bingley and Huddersfield’s director or rugby, Mark Sowerby, will be looking to see his side extend Hull’s points-against column tomorrow.
With no injuries reported from last week’s excellent win up in Darlington, Huddersfield’s line-up will be almost the same with the exception of second rower Gavin Rhodes, who unfortunately is again having to work.
His absence, however, gives Tom Sharrock another start at blindside flanker, with George Hinchliff once again teaming up in the second row with Ben Harris. The only other change is on the bench, where Danny Ramsden comes in alongside Sowerby, Chris Gough, Sam Slater and half-back Joel Hinchliffe.
“It will certainly be tougher than last week, and we need to be switched on from the start,” said Sowerby, who watched his side give away two tries in the first three minutes at Darlington.
“I know several of the Hull players, one or two who played with me at Wakefield, and I know they will be no mugs and far more streetwise that last week’s opponents.
“We need to be switched on from the start, but I’m confident if we can improve on our error count by increasing our concentration then there is no reason why we can’t beat them and put more points on the board.
“Caldy are the only team to have beaten us at Lockwood Park this season, and home advantage means a lot to us tomorrow.
“This is one of several matches we have targeted for winning points, and victory tomorrow would help push us up towards mid-table which is where we need to be.”
Team – Paxman (B), Shaw, Paxman (L), Mortimore, Sutcliffe; Johnson, Clayton; Stringwell, Davies, McPhail, Harris, Hinchliff, Sharrock, Whitehead, Sharpe. Subs: Gough, Slater, Ramsden, Hinchliffe, Sowerby.
Falcons – (v Hull Ionians, a, meet 11.30): Truelove, Stancliffe, Van Royen, Hanks, Kinge, Stephenson, Rothery, Entressengle, Shiel, Battye, Taxis, Leith, Rogers, Scott, Rotchell. Subs: Owen, Chandler, Coldwell, Clarkson, Brook, Ervine.
A team – (v Cleckheaton IV, a, meet 12.45): Lockwood, Stubley, Prescott, Barber, Ball, Wood, Cleave, Sowerby, Hayes, Walker, Baxter, Cundle, Littlewood, Hirst, Lancaster. Subs: Mason Fleming, Royd, Schofield.