Words by Richard Sykes – Images by: Ray Morris
Huddersfield RUFC head coach Gareth Lewis was delighted with the team’s latest win as they showed grit and determination to come from behind at half-time to go on and clinch the victory.
Huddersfield scored 14 unanswered points in the final 40 minutes to win the National 2 North basement battle at Harrogate 21-13.
On the victory Lewis said: “We are delighted to get the win. Both teams made errors throughout but we were deserved winners.
“Whilst Lewis Bradley was in the sin bin we really fought for each other and made up for our numerical disadvantage. We have some tough games in the final rounds but we will keep battling right up until the last game.”
Harrogate made the better start to the fixture and seven minutes into the game took the lead, with a penalty by scrum-half Kit Keith.
Having had chances to equalise the score, Huddersfield’s failure to put points on the board put wind into Harrogate sails. However it would be the home side who struck next on the half hour mark when flanker Harvey Keighley-Payne gave Field the lead with a corner flag try, which Will Milner converted from a very difficult angle.
Two minutes later Harrogate were back in front when winger Ben Raubitschek chased down his own kick through the Huddersfield defensive line for a try, which Keith converted.
An error strewn first half, which both teams contributed to in equal measure, came to an end with another successful penalty by Keith, to make the score at the interval, 13-7 to Harrogate.
After their invigorated start to the second half the visitors’ efforts were rewarded after just three minutes. Nunn ended a move, which saw the ball passed full width, from left to right, with a try in the corner. Milner missed the conversion,
Huddersfield skipper Lewis Bradley was yellow carded for a deliberate knock on directly in front of the posts shortly afterwards. Instead of taking the points from the penalty Harrogate opted for a scrum but were unable to take advantage of their extra man. Milner then extended Field’s lead with two successful penalties midway through the final 40 minutes. That made the score 18-13 to Huddersfield.
Harrogate had a chance to establish a good attacking position when they were awarded a penalty on halfway after 70 minutes. However an athletic leap and flick by Nunn kept the ball in play and Field put the pressure back on their hosts. Harrogate then conceded another penalty and Milner decided to take a crack at goal from five metres inside his own half. His valiant attempt bounced back off the cross bar.
Twice in quick succession Harrogate were guilty of kicking directly into touch. When play was brought back for a Huddersfield lineout the second time, Harrogate were penalised at the breakdown on their own 22 and Milner added another three points to make it 21-13 to Huddersfield.
Huddersfield’s win and Blaydon’s defeat by Stourbridge means that the two teams have changed positions at the foot of the league table, with Harrogate still firmly rooted at the bottom. Next week Huddersfield host title contenders Rotherham Titans.
Huddersfield: Hodson; Knight; Workman; Milner; Nunn; Law; Mason; Thompson; Stapley; Smith; Pearson; Sharpe; Keighley- Payne; Bradley(c); Brown. Replacements: Davis; Walker; Catleugh; Potter; Brook L.