By Richard Sykes

Huddersfield slumped to their heaviest defeat of the season 70-19 away at Preston Grasshoppers in Round 21 of the National 2 North Championship.

The home side scored 10 tries, seven of which came in a dominant first half leaving the visitors with only pride to play for in the second.

Hopper’s fly-half William Hunt was unerring with the boot and converted all 10. In an improved second half performance Xander Nash and Paul Harrison scored tries for Huddersfield to add to Thiu Barnard’s 23rd minute opener which went some way towards sweetening what was a very bitter pill to swallow.

Injuries and unavailability meant that it was a much changed Huddersfield team that took to the pitch at Lightfoot Green with three debutants featuring in the starting line-up.

Hoppers were quickly into their stride and gave new look Field little time to settle. They showed a willingness to run the ball and move it wide at every opportunity and were aided and abetted in their endeavours by mistakes and defensive lapses from a Huddersfield team that gave away too many penalties and were guilty of losing much of their own ball in contact.

Hoppers’ scrum-half Joe Harrison got the scoreboard ticking with a try on four minutes, finishing off a move which started when Field failed to find touch with a penalty.

Scott Richardson and Jacob Browne then added others before the game was a quarter of an hour old, Richardson’s score coming from a tap and go from five metres out after Field lost an attacking line-out and were pegged back by two penalties in quick succession.

Field had the upper hand in the early scrummages but when they were penalised on half way for an early shove Browne took another quick tap and sprinted through for his score.

Midway through the first half Field managed to get a foothold in the game. Good work in the centre by Billy Hammond was causing problems for Hoppers in midfield and after a couple of promising moves by Liam Parfitt and Paul Harrison Field struck on 23 minutes.

Winger Charlie Foreman took a fine catch on half way and made good ground before offloading. Hoppers were penalised at the breakdown and from the lineout Barnard drove through for a try behind the maul. Lewis Workman added the extras.

Hoppers rallied and added four more tries before the break. Browne got his second, taking advantage of a dog leg in Field’s defensive line with others by Hunt, Rob Willets and Harry Holden taking the score to 49 7 at half-time.

Huddersfield’s second half cause wasn’t helped by the yellow carding of No8 Lewis Quinn on the stroke of half-time and lock Alex Dawson five minutes into the second half but nonetheless they made a lively and positive start to the final 40 minutes.

Dawson’s dismissal came when Field were pressing for a second score on the Hoppers’ line which released the pressure and resulted in a temporary turn of the tide.

Good work by Hammond and Harrison for Field took play back into the Hoppers’ 22, paving the way for Nash to power through for a try which Workman converted.

The contest assumed an evenness from then on but moments of carelessness by Field were punished with tries for Hoppers by Harvey May and Alistair Murray on 65 and 70 minutes.

With five minutes remaining Paul Harrison, who had switched from the wing to scrum-half, had his enterprise rewarded with Field’s final try but it was Hoppers who had the last word when Richardson crashed over for his second with time almost up. Fittingly Hunt rounded off a fine individual performance with his 10th conversion.

Huddersfield take on Sheffield at Lockwood Park on Saturday March 16 (2.00).

Huddersfield: Workman; Foreman; Nash; Hammond; Harrison; Hawkyard; Wilson; Thompson; Haywood; Sanderson; Dawson; Barnard; Davis; Parfitt; Quinn. Replacements: Walker; Phayer; Mann; Hawdon.