Words: Richard Sykes Pictures: Nigel Clews
Huddersfield RUFC 19 Bournville 24
National 2 North rugby union made a welcome return to Lockwood Park after an 18-month absence as Huddersfield RUFC took on newly-promoted Bournville in the season’s opener.
The home side made a bright start and were 13 points up after just seven minutes. With the visitors rocked on to the back foot Will Milner notched two early penalties then converted Arthur Wilkinson’s well worked try.
After Huddersfield No8 and skipper Lewis Bradley made good yards up the middle of the field the ball was quickly re-cycled and passed neatly though the hands of Lewis Workman and Tom Hodson in the centre to create room for the speedy wingman to skate wide down the right flank and score near the posts.
Bournville hit back immediately, when Huddersfield lost possession after the re-start. A cross field kick found flanker Tom Murphy wide right and he crashed over for an unconverted try from close range.
With 20 minutes gone Bournville punished another unforced error by Huddersfield. Having forced a penalty at the end of a promising spell of attacking play Huddersfield missed the kick for touch. The ball was run back at them with interest by Bournville winger Tom Burrows and when the home side conceded a penalty Bournville fly half Mitch McGahan narrowed the gap to five points.
Another Milner penalty took Huddersfield’s tally to 16 points but their loose play shortly afterwards cost them possession, enabling Bournville winger Ollie Dawkins to break wide left and score another unconverted try in the corner to bring an end to the first half scoring. It was 16-13 at half-time.
Huddersfield threatened early in the second period but once again the visitors punished their mistakes. Having lost the ball in the Bournville twenty two metre zone play moved up the field and a missed tackle allowed Dawkins to show his pace again and race up the left wing for his second try of the match.
On 51 minutes Bournville’s prop Archie McArthur received a yellow card for a dangerous tackle giving Huddersfield the opportunity to kick for the corner and assert their numerical advantage. More carelessness proved costly. Huddersfield failed to find touch with their penalty kick and Bournville were able to work the ball up field and maintain their advantage.
Milner and McGahan exchanged penalty scores before McGahan added another three points to leave Huddersfield needing a try to tie the game. Huddersfield pressed in the final minutes but with victory in their sights the visitors proved resolute in defence and secured a deserved win.
Huddersfield head coach Gaz Lewis said: “We started positively, consistently winning our own ball and looking good in phase play. Will Milner was prolific off the tee resulting in scoreboard pressure taking us to half-time.
“However at this level you can’t gift the opposition with basic errors and that ultimately proved the difference. After a difficult pre-season we tired in the second half but there is no doubt this team will get better.”