By Richard Sykes  

Huddersfield produced a strong finish to earn two bonus points but it was Wharfedale who came out on top in a thrilling Yorkshire derby winning 37-31. Huddersfield’s Ed Brown produced an outstanding display which won’t be forgotten in a hurry. 

Field made the away trip without the services of their two regular lock forwards and ultimately, it was Dale’s domination of the scrummage that gave them their edge. Flanker Leighton Davis once again stepped up to the plate in the second row, alongside Pete Hampshire, making his return to first team duty after a long injury lay off.

Huddersfield head coach Gaz Lewis was immensely proud of  the performance and said: “It has been a challenging week ensuring we had adequate front row coverage. However, we managed and ran Wharfedale close.

“The lads up front performed admirably but if we could have had a greater platform in the set piece I’m convinced the result would have gone our way. It was pleasing to come away with two points and there were a number of excellent performers.”

After going behind to an early penalty by Dale fly-half Tom Davidson, a try by Field winger Sam Nunn and a conversion by Will Milner gave them the lead. Dale hooker Madison Hunter put his team briefly back in front with an unconverted try but a penalty by Milner restored Field’s lead, which they held until the half hour.

Both teams were showing plenty of ambition and adventure, with centre Lewis Workman featuring noticably for Field. Many promising chances were created but Dale winger Rian Hamilton was the only player to convert one into points in the remainder of the first half. His try, converted by Davidson, gave Dale a 15-10 lead at half time.

A push over try from a scrummage, by No8 Josh Burridge, converted by Davidson and another penalty extended Dale’s lead to 15 points on 58 minutes. It proved to be a prelude to an action packed final quarter which produced five more tries.

Field prop Lewis Brook began the scoring frenzy. After his front row partner Toby Walker sold a neat dummy and popped him an inside pass, he seized his moment and steamed through a gap for a try which Milner converted. 

A brace of tries by Dale replacement William Lawn scored within 15 minutes of him taking the field, the first of which Davidson converted, earned them the bonus point and all but sewed up the game. But, Huddersfield hit right back, scoring two more tries in a thrilling, five minute, finale.

Skipper Lewis Bradley was the first over the whitewash, rounding off several phases of intense play and great ball retention. No8 Ed Brown scored the last one. Throughout the match he had constantly put Field on the front foot, picking up and rolling away from back peddling scrummages and carrying the ball into attack. His try was just reward for his outstanding contribution to the match. Both tries were converted by Milner.

There were second half yellow cards for Huddersfield’s Lewis Brook and Pete Hampshire and Rian Hamilton and Elliot Stockton for Wharfedale, but the game will be remembered as a brilliant showcase of National League rugby.

Huddersfield: Potter; Stewart; Workman; Milner; Nunn; Law; Mason; Brook; Stapley; Walker; Davis; Hampshire; Keighly-Payne; Bradley(c); Brown. Replacements: Cadogan; Knight; Catleugh.