Words: Richard Sykes Photos: Roy France

A last-minute try by Robert Davidson for Sheffield Tigers secured the bonus point and brought the curtain down on a solid home win over Huddersfield. The replacement centre cruised in down the right flank to round off a move, which stemmed from a penalty on half way, to make the final score 33-13.

The Tigers’ victory was founded on excellent set piece ball work, which gave their talented backs ample opportunity to demonstrate their flair and frustrate the visitors.

Field started the game strongly and after going behind to an early Mark Ireland penalty they took the lead on 17 minutes. Two exceptionally good spells of possession, which saw the ball worked through over 20 phases, put the Tigers’ defence to the test. A long pass to the right wing found Kian Stewart in space, he neatly wrong footed his marker and dashed in for the first try of the game. Will Milner’s conversion attempt drifted just wide.

A second penalty by Ireland on 20 minutes regained the lead for Tigers but Field hit back from the re-start. Full-back Joe Potter made good yards with a lovely individual break and, when he was felled by a high tackle, Milner’s penalty kick was straight and true.

The strong Tigers’ pack posed problems in the scrummage throughout and in the second quarter Field were forced onto the back foot, as the home side began to assert themselves.

Field conceded a number of penalties and initially did well to hold out. A penalty on the half hour gave Tigers a good attacking lineout and hooker Louis Townsend touched down from the catch and drive. Ireland successfully landed the difficult conversion and a third penalty on the stroke of half-time to make the score 16-8 at the interval.

Straight after half-time the Tigers increased their lead with an unconverted try by centre James Broadley. When Field failed to find touch with a penalty shortly after the re-start the Tigers’ backs ran the ball back with interest, leaving their visitors defending their line once again.

Huddersfield RUFC

Prop Lewis Smith was yellow carded for killing the ball at the breakdown and 14-man Field found themselves battling. Scrum-half Jonny Mason managed to turn the tide briefly with a break out of his own half, with team mates in good support. The ball was well retained when he was tackled but the promising move ended with a forward pass.

On 59 minutes Tigers cleverly switched their direction of attack with an excellent cross field kick. Full-back Greg Mellor came into the line to take a pass from the catch and run round the defence for a try behind the posts, which Ireland converted with ease.

Field skipper Lewis Bradley, playing at open side flanker, led his team by example, making promising breaks and securing attacking ball with some amazing turnovers at the rucks. On the 75th minute his industry paid dividends. Having robbed Tigers of their ball he set up a move in which Milner made good ground, with Eddie Brown in close attendance. Brown crashed over for a well worked try, just reward for his tireless hard work at No8.

Davidson’s try brought an entertaining game of rugby to its close.

After the game Huddersfield head coach Gaz Lewis gave his assessment. He said: “I thought we competed for large parts of the game and our first try showed what we are capable of. However, we didn’t have the scrum to provide the platform, made some individual errors, which were punished and were too slow to our own ruck ball.” 

Next week the team travel to Harrogate, who lie bottom of National 2 North. They will be hoping to complete the double and return with a sixth league win under their belt.

Huddersfield: Potter; Stewart; Workman; Milner; Nunn; Law; Mason; Brook L; Stapley; Thompson; Pearson; Sharpe; Davis; Bradley (c); Brown. Replacements; Catleugh; Hussain; Sedgwick; Keighley-Payne; Knight.