By Daniel Allerton

Huddersfield were defeated 12-31 by league high-flyers Rotherham Titans in their National 2 North match at Lockwood Park.

On a heavy pitch the game was fairly even but the Titans scored four first half tries on the back of some solid lineout work to build up a healthy lead which bottom-placed Huddersfield were unable to claw back.

It was the home side who struck first, capitalising on a scrum inside the Rotherham 22. Scrum-half Paul Harrison worked the ball quickly away to Luke Pearson who made ground with a strong carry.

The Titans defence held up against Field’s pick and drives as they attempted to get over the line. Harrison regained control and switched play to skipper Ed Barber who had Charlie Foreman in support.

A lovely dummy pass by the fly-half created the space and he held three men off to break through the gap and score. His own conversion clipped the wrong side of the post from a difficult angle.

Rotherham bounced back immediately, a long kick from the restart catching out Harrison who spilled the catch. The Titans gained possession and tried to smash their way through the Field pack close to the line.

Field remained strong, withstanding immense pressure until the ball was worked out wide and the bodies that were invested defensively couldn’t get across in time to stop Jack Townend from getting over the line for the first try. Louis Hayes slotted home the first of his four conversions.

Rotherham’s lineout then proved dominant, their second and third tries coming from almost identical positions.

John Okafor rose highest, sparking a strong maul which pushed Field back. Flanker Harry Newborn peeled off to get over the line. Hayes converted and scored the next try, cruising in between the posts.

Jack Taylor secured the bonus points for Rotherham five minutes before the break, finishing a fantastic team try. Hayes ran half the length of the pitch, and after some fast-passing Harry Dunne played a beautifully weighted ball which Jack Taylor caught mid-air to score the try.

Field ended the half as they started it, replacement Lewis Quinn scoring just before the break. A turnover in midfield after the restart allowed Barber and Lewis Workman to combine to play in Finlay Stewart who attempted to chase his threatening kick but was brought down illegally.

From the resulting lineout Field drove strongly and won another penalty which was taken quickly. The ball was worked to Quinn who darted through a gap in the Titans defence to score a try which Barber converted to make it 12-28 at half-time.

Rotherham added the last points of the game a few minutes into the second half with a penalty kicked by Hayes.

As the pitch deteriorated play became increasingly difficult on the muddy surface. Although Field dominated the ball for long spells in the second half, passing through the phases nicely, they were unable to convert pressure into points.

Strong carries by Liam Parfitt, Xander Nash and Francis Entressengle were orchestrated by Harrison who switched play with a reverse pass that sent Barber through. Co-captain Callum Thompson went close with a strong carry but the Rotherham defence remained resolute.

Rotherham looked set to add to their lead when Livingstone seemed through after cutting out a crucial attacking pass by Field. Stewart at the last second flew in and caught his ankles, with a try saving tackle, allowing Workman to bundle him into touch.

The game ended 12-31, with Rotherham boss Gareth Lewis getting the win against his former club. It was a case of fine margins and managing the lineout that let Field down but they delivered another gritty, improved performance against the second placed side and can take lots of positive from the game.

They were defensively strong and gave Rotherham a lot to do defensively. They put together some lovely passages of play and moved the ball well through the hands, building up pressure through the phases.

On a different day, the final pass and cutting edge would have been there and the game would have been a different story.

Field will be happy with another positive performance and travel to Preston Grasshoppers on Saturday March 9 knowing that after three positive performances on the spin another win is surely just around the corner.

Huddersfield: Workman; Foreman; Nash; Parfitt; Stewart F; Barber; Harrison; Thompson; Moore; Rollins; Barnard; Dawson; Entressengle: Haywood; Pearson. Replacements: Sanderson; Walker; Quinn; Neilly; Davis.

Image by: RAY MORRIS