By Richard Sykes
It was top against bottom but Huddersfield RUFC let leaders Leeds Tykes know they’d been in a game.
The Tykes defeated Field 57-17 to maintain their 100% record in National 2 North but the scoreline didn’t reflect the efforts of the visitors.
While Leeds ran in nine tries they were physically matched by their West Yorkshire rivals who were rewarded by a first half penalty try and late scores by Max Horsfall and Harry Whitfield.
Director of rugby at Huddersfield, Neil Ryan, was left disappointed by the result and said: “We wanted to take something from the game and to score just three tries is frustrating as we had opportunities to score more.
“In the first half we made four errors and Leeds capitalised and scored four tries, the last coming on the stroke of half-time.
“We started the second half slowly and Leeds scored a couple more but we regrouped and went again, scoring two really good tries.
“There was a lot of effort put into the game and Leeds know they have been in a contest. But, as the season has panned out, this is another game that we should have taken something from.”
The Tykes were swiftly out of the blocks and were two tries up inside the first five minutes. Their willingness to run the ball from anywhere on the pitch was evident from the off, with flanker Nuu Nuu rounding off the first scoring move before the game was a minute old.
Centre Ben Dixon followed him over the whitewash for the second with full-back Kieran Davies landing the first of his four successful conversions.
Field settled and rallied after the early setbacks and produced some highly effective forward pressure to drive the Tykes back.
Having secured good lineout ball inside the Tykes’ 22, Field set up a classic maul which was driven over and brought down illegally, resulting in a penalty try for Field and a yellow card for Tykes flanker Ben Whyman.
Although a man down the home side continued to look dangerous with Kit Keith orchestrating at scrum-half. The Tykes back’s skill and pace was causing problems for Field through the centre and on the wings and Keith’s brisk work earned him a converted try just four minutes after Field had narrowed the gap.
Field skipper Ed Barber saw yellow for a high tackle on 16 minutes and was followed to the sinbin by his fly-half Joe Potter for a technical offence seven minutes later.
To their credit the depleted Field team didn’t concede but they did on the stroke of half-time when back to 15 men and when Tykes were a man down.
Tykes’ prop William Dennis ended the first half with a 10-minute spell in the bin after receiving yellow for foul play but a late try by Davies and conversion by his half-back partner Turagbeci made took the half-time score 26-7.
The start of the second half mirrored the first with two Tykes tries in the first five minutes. Winger Henry McNab stole in down the left flank for the first with ex-Huddersfield man Ed Brown notching the second.
Brown’s score came from a chip and chase, the big No8 cruising in close to the posts. Davies added the extras. Shortly afterwards Field hooker Ethan Myers was given a yellow card.
Midway through the second half Field were stung by another three tries. Peter Lubbock, Jacob Mounsey and McNab, completing his brace, were the scorers. All three resulted from clinical, fast paced work by the Tykes back line. Keith converted the first and last of them.
The final 10 minutes belonged to never-say-die Huddersfield. Horsfall’s try came from a right to left backs move which produced an overlap, Horsfall cutting inside from his wing on a switch for the try.
Whitfield’s score was a powerful solo effort, the big prop driving 15 metres through the Tykes’ defence from behind a maul.
Unfortunately Ethan Myers was off target with both his conversion attempts and in between the two Tykes’ centre Ben Dixon became the sixth player in the game to be banished to the bin.
The defeat leaves Huddersfield 10 points adrift at the foot of the table. Next week they travel to Otley in search of their third win of the season. Otley are just three places above them in the standings.
Huddersfield: Workman; Nash; Barber; Collins; Horsfall; Potter; Willson; Whitfield; Myers; Rollins; Pearson; Barnard; Quinn; Entressengle; Parfitt. Replacements: Thompson; Dawson; Neilly; Haywood; Walker.
Image by: RAY MORRIS