By Richard Sykes
Huddersfield RUFC coach Gareth Lewis is preparing his players for a crunch game in National 2 North on Saturday.
A 54-24 defeat at Chester last weekend was a sixth successive defeat and on Saturday they welcome Tynedale to Lockwood Park, another club with just one win to their name this season.
There are four clubs at the bottom of the table – including Huddersfield – with just one victory so far and Saturday’s game could prove vital.
Chester produced a clinical display of running rugby at Hare Lane to earn a deserved victory. They made the perfect start to the game and were two tries to the good inside the first 15 minutes. Full-back Gethin Long picked his lines well to join the attack and bagged both with fly-half Liam Reeve converting.
In between Long’s two tries Huddersfield got onto the scoresheet with a Will Milner penalty. The visitors then made it game on with their first try. When Chester were penalised Huddersfield chose to kick to the line and lock forward Luke Pearson scored at the end of the maul from the resulting lineout. Milner’s conversion made the score 14-10.
The home side, however, finished the half strongly with their midfield runners continuing to cause headaches for the Huddersfield defence. Tries by centres Jonny Roberts and Sean Long plus another by blindside flanker Guy Ford secured the bonus point and all but wrapped up the game by half time. Reeve successfully converted the first two but kicked his last attempt wide of the mark. It was his only failure during the match.
Half-time…Chester 33 Huddersfield 10
The second half was played with uncontested scrums because of injuries to front row players and the lack of suitable replacements and not long into it Chester extended their lead and pressed home their advantage. Winger Max Himbury scored his team’s sixth try on 48 minutes with the reliable Reeves adding the extras.
Shortly afterwards, a try by Huddersfield captain and No8 Lewis Bradley, converted by Milner, added some respectability to the score line but the narrowed margin was short lived.
Two more tries for Chester quickly followed. First over was No8 Kyle Joseph with prop Tom Furnival following up with the second minutes later. The metronomic kicking of Reeve took Chester’s tally past the 50 points mark and rounded off a highly satisfactory performance for his team.
There were yellow cards in the second half for Huddersfield’s Will Milner and Chester’s Kyle Joseph, both for high tackles, and a final consolation score for the visitors. Deep into stoppage time a second try for Bradley underlined Huddersfield’s ‘never say die’ attitude with Milner’s conversion bringing the game to its conclusion.
After the game Lewis said: “The way we defended individually and collectively was not to the standard we are capable of and against good teams you get picked off.
“The way we attacked and implemented the things we had worked on was impressive. Once again we showed the character to play until the final whistle and now we must stick together and prepare for Tynedale next week.”