Words by: Richard Sykes – Picture by: Dave Morton
Huddersfield RUFC endured an early blitz but came out with credit against top of the table Sedgley Park Tigers.
Field were stung by two tries from hooker Sam Mallinson in the first 10 minutes and were hit by three more in the third quarter, with Mallinson completing his hat-trick.
A late score rounded off a second hat-trick by winger Andrew Riley to give the Tigers a comfortable 39-14 home win.
In an entertaining game Field matched their hosts for territory and possession but struggled to convert pressure into points against a resolute Tigers defence.
Second half tries by Ethan Myers and Rob Jennings, both of which were converted by Will Milner, offered just reward and some consolation for the visitors but it was the clinical finishing of their hosts that made the difference on the day.
After the game Field’s director of rugby Gaz Lewis said: “Sedgley set off like a house on fire, winning collision and building a very effective maul but the boys dug in and stemmed the flow.
“We grew into the game and were rewarded with a couple of good scores. I was pleased with how we competed against the best team in the league.”
Mallinson’s early scores both came from catch and drives from line-outs close to the Field try line, Field having been guilty of assisting by careless loss of possession. Fly-half Stephen Collins converted the second one.
After the early setbacks Field settled and took the game to Tigers. They pressured Tigers into penalty concessions with notable contributions to attack from centre Ed Barber, skipper Lewis Bradley and No8 Jennings.
All the penalties were kicked to touch to make ground. Midway through the half Field were camped on the Tigers try line, with scrum-half Joe Potter coming closest to crossing.
Tigers put in a massive defensive set to hold out before eventually managing to get clear when Field were penalised. The score remained 12-0 at the interval.
Field made an excellent start to the second half, with all play taking place inside the Tigers’ half for the first 10 minutes. Time and again Tigers showed their mettle in defence of their try line with a break down the left wing by hooker Liam Stapley coming closest to breaching it.
Having resisted, Tigers took play into Field’s territory and struck, notching three more tries in a 10-minute spell. The first, by Riley, saw him run in at the right hand corner, the ball having been whipped across the pitch from a lineout at the other side.
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Three minutes later Tigers hoisted a high kick from inside their own half which looked fairly harmless but Field allowed it to bounce, which it did, straight into the arms of the on-rushing Riley who raced in between the posts to bag his second.
Mallinson then completed his hat-trick, taking a short pass on an inside line from Riley who made an excellent individual break. Collins converted the last two.
Field eventually got on the scoreboard on 64 minutes, Myers dotting down in a maul from a 5 metre lineout. Jennings’s try came 10 minutes later when he rounded off a nice passage of attacking play, cutting through from short range.
There was a yellow card for Tigers’ lock Rob Birtwell for technical infringement between the two.
Riley completed his hat-trick against the late run of play, breaking clear for the try having received a pass from behind a scrum on half way. Tiger’s full-back Ollie Glasse brought matters to a close with the conversion.
Only four games now remain to be played. Field take on Tynedale away on Saturday April 1.