LOCKWOOD PARK finally got the chance to stage the all-Huddersfield Rugby Union derby (Part II) when YMCA visited their North I neighbours on Saturday.
And what another excellent occasion it turned out to be, as the town's two union club's met in the eagerly-awaited re-match in front of a large vocal crowd at Huddersfield's headquarters.
The first meeting between the sides had ended in a 21-17 win for Huddersfield at Laund Hill, before late withdrawals by the YM had led to the return visit being postponed at late notice.
Gladly, there were no such problems on Saturday with the game being played in the splendid spirit that it was intended.
Both coaches took the opportunity to spell a variety of substitutes and second teamers, and although for the most part Huddersfield held the upper hand, it was well-contested clash with plenty to admire from both sides.
Indeed, it was the YM who were quicker out of the blocks, Stuart Morton and Conrad Dent going close on the right wing, while James Bracken just failed to hold on to a long swirling pass with a chance on the left before David Holmes knocked over a 30-yard penalty after eight minutes.
And YM's hopes were lifted further when stand-off Graeme Sarjeant sold a brilliant dummy before scorching down the middle and linking with Damian Pearson. The second rower was tackled just short of the line but managed to release Ben Wolfe, who then crossed near the posts.
Holmes surprisingly missed the relatively easy kick, while the usually- reliable Chris Johnson missed two penalty chances at the other end.
But Huddersfield began to step up to the plate, and after a Hamish Pratt break ended with a dropped pass, the home eight flexed their muscles in a well- controlled rolling maul which ended with second rower Thiu Barnard going over for their opening score.
YMCA's line-out hopes suffered a hefty blow when Aussie lock Luke Hannan went off with a shoulder injury as Huddersfield slowly began to pile on the pressure.
Johnson was halted by a copybook tackle from Morton, but when they sent the ball down the line at speed, in came full-back James Swift to notch the second try to which Johnson added the extras for a 12-8 half-time lead.
Personnel changes came thick and fast after the break and Huddersfield soon extended their lead when right-winger Tim Taylor went over by the sticks for another converted try.
YM stuck to the task, however, and after Wolfe took a quick tap penalty to himself the ball was worked out to Morton who kicked through and Holmes won the race to touch down, and also added his own conversion to bring the score back to 19-15 in Huddersfield's favour.
Home centre Johnson again showed his undoubted class on 57 minutes when he handed off both Morton and full-back Chris Cowling, and although another Holmes penalty kept the visitors in the game, Tony Stringwell went over from another rolling maul to put Huddersfield in the clear.
Mark Whitehead then scored the try of the game, when a quick line-out inside their own half and flipped up pass from the quick-thinking Pratt sent flanker Whitehead on a tremendous run to the line, Johnson adding conversions to both.
There was just time for Ross Housley to add a late consolation for YM to end a good contest, which hopefully will continue for years to come.
Huddersfield - Swift; Taylor, Johnson, Paxman (B), Shaw, Wicket, Ainsworth, McPhail, Davies, Stringwell, Bodsworth, Barnard, Rotchell, Sharrock, Pratt. Subs used: Gough, Whitehead, Hinchliffe, Metcalfe, Carter.
YMCA - Cowling; Dent, Morton, Iosefa, Holmes; Sarjeant, Wolfe; Gregson, Guegue, Dobson, Hannan, Pearson, Bracken, Anderson, Walker. Subs: Hellawell, Sykes, McSwiney, Whitehead, Housley, Nyahoda, Marshall, Travis
Referee - D Beeden (Sheffield).
Scorers: Huddersfield: tries: Barnard, Swift, Taylor, Johnson, Stringwell, Whitehead. Conv: Johnson (4). YMCA: tries: Wolfe, Holmes, Housley. Pens: Holmes (2) Conv (2).