By Richard Sykes

A dramatic 45-yard penalty in stoppage time denied Huddersfield RUFC a deserved win after a narrow 34-32 defeat at Sheffield Tigers.

It was a spirited display as Field scored six tries to Tigers’ four. Hooker Ethan Myers scored a brace and Huddersfield were in front for most of the game.

An outstanding performance by the Huddersfield pack gave them their advantage but the reliable boot of Tigers’ full-back Will Baker kept them in touch.

Huddersfield held an 8-point lead with five minutes remaining but a late converted try gave the hosts hope and Baker went on to steal the spoils with a 45-yard penalty in stoppage time.

For Huddersfield’s director of rugby Neil Ryan the game brought a mixture of emotions. Buoyed by the improved performance but disappointed by the final result he said: “I was pleased with the attitude and desire of the team.

“Our maul and scrum was a massive threat and we looked dangerous every time we attacked. We were also strong in defence. To score six tries away and not win is difficult, especially losing to the last kick of the game.”

Field put Tigers under pressure from the off, resulting in a yellow card for Tigers’ lock Dan Hawksworth and a red for centre Curtis Wilson for foul play in the opening minutes.

Field cashed in from the penalty following Hawksworth’s dismissal when Myers dotted down from the catch and drive from the lineout after which Baker opened Tigers’ account with a penalty.

Winger Max Horsfall increased Field’s lead with a corner flag try on 10 minutes and Myers got his second shortly after Wilson went for his early bath. Both tries were set up by more solid lineout work by the visitors. Centre Ed Barber then landed his one successful conversion with his only attempt not from a difficult angle.

Hooker Louis Townshend hit back against the run of play with Tigers’ first try which Baker converted before his team were reduced to 13 men for the remainder of the first half when lock Dominic Santamaria was sin-binned for dangerous play.

Field No8 Luke Pearson secured the bonus point and wrapped up the first half scoring with a fine try from a close range maul to make the score 22-10 to the visitors at the interval.

After half-time Tigers’ changed tactics, spreading play with some back line moves and using the strong wind to gain ground with their kicking game.

Their enterprise was rewarded with quick fire tries by winger James Norman and No8 William Wallace in the third quarter, both of which were converted by Baker to give Tigers a two-point lead on 55 minutes.

After the se backs Field steadied the ship and regained control with Paul Harrison coming on at scrum-half producing brisk work leading to two tries in two minutes with time running out.

Winger Xander Nash recaptured the lead, racing in for a try on an overlap and Harrison extended it with a sixth try after some neat interplay.

Harrison’s try left Tigers requiring two scores for victory. With time almost up replacement prop Karl Walker barrelled over for a try in the corner and Baker reduced the deficit to a single point with a fine conversion.

When Field were penalised for holding on after the re-start Baker held his nerve and landed his long range kick to rob Field of a much needed win.

Huddersfield play Fylde at Lockwood Park on Saturday February 24 (kick off 2pm). Boosted by Saturday’s performance the team one place above Tigers in the table should hold no fears for much improved Field.

Image by: RAY MORRIS