By Richard Sykes

A try by Ed Brown in the fifth minute gave Huddersfield the lead in their National 2 North match at Harrogate. Will Milner then kept the scoreboard ticking with a fine goal-kicking display to maintain it and earn a vital win in a very tight game which eventually confirmed Huddersfield’s position in this league for another year.

Huddersfield’s director of rugby, Gaz Lewis, said: “It was far from a vintage performance but we did enough to grind out the win.

“The conditions made it difficult for both sides but I’m pleased that the lads’ hard work has paid off and that the club can confidently look forward to another season in the fourth tier of England’s rugby union pyramid.”

Field made a good start to the match. Ed Barber had gained territory in the centre with a good break but although the move broke down with a knock on Harrogate remained pinned inside their 22, with Brown’s early score coming from a catch and drive from a lineout close to the try line. Milner added the extras.

Both teams showed enterprise and a willingness to run the ball despite the heavy conditions underfoot. Harrogate managed to create pressure on Field’s line when a kick through got stuck in the mud inches from it.

Field full-back Tom Hodson was tackled into touch but although Field defended their line successfully over ambition in trying to run the ball back from under their posts cost them.

They were penalised at the breakdown and Harrogate’s decision to turn down the chance of three points from straight on were rewarded with an unconverted try in the corner from the lineout by lock Sam Brady.

In the second quarter Field began to dominate broken field play and Milner extended their lead on 35 minutes with a penalty, drilling the ball low and over from 40 metres out to make the half-time score 10-5 to Field.

Field extended their lead five minutes after the interval. Successive penalties set up attacking lineouts, with lock Luke Pearson taking a clean catch from the second and hooker Ethan Myers dotting down for the try. Milner’s conversion attempt from the touchline went just wide of the mark.

The 10-point margin looked far from secure as the home side pressed. Scrum-half Ben Raubitscek made a sniping break and moments later prop Tom Baxter crashed over for a try, which fly-half Tom Steene converted to reduce the deficit to just three points.

Midway through the half Field were struggling for possession and when they did get the ball poor kicking out of hand and lost lineouts gifted it back.

Milner landed another penalty on 70 minutes but Harrogate were far from beaten. With five minutes to go Field managed to steal the ball at a Harrogate lineout but their good work came to nought when they were penalised when trying to use it.

Harrogate kicked the penalty to the Field 22 and set up a textbook maul from the lineout. The Harrogate forwards drove and marched 20 metres to cross the Field line where only the strong arm of replacement hooker Liam Stapley managed to keep the ball from being grounded.  

From the goal line drop out Field manoeuvred themselves into the Harrogate half where the ever reliable Milner landed another penalty with the last kick of the game to make the final score 21-12.

Huddersfield’s 10th win lifts them to 10th place in the table, well clear of the relegation places. Harrogate remained second from bottom, with relegation now a certainty. Huddersfield travel to top of the table Sedgley Park on Saturday March 25.