Coach Talk – A report by Steve Hazzelby

What a great start to the new year and the second half of the season. A tough away win against Wharefdale just before Xmas followed by a marvellous home win against a very tough Huddersfield side last Saturday.

Following a well deserved two week break over the festive season we faced a massive challenge against Yorkshire opponents Huddersfield in the first game of the new year. This was always going to be a difficult challenge with several regular first team players out with injuries, sickness and unavailability. Early exchanges were pretty even with both sides testing each others defence and it was not until the 18th minute that Huddersfield scored first with a well worked catch and drive try from their big forwards giving them a 5-0 lead. The Tigers to their credit continued to test their opponents defence with good driving play by the forwards which was rewarded with a great try for centre Sam Lowthian after he powered through two defenders. Steve Collins added the conversion to put us back in the game 7-5 going into the last fifteen minutes of the first half. Huddersfield retook the lead after  good individual skill from their centre but a great break from Steve Collins and excellent support from centre Sam gave him his second try and gave us the lead 14-10 going into the interval.

We started the second half very well with pace, tempo and continuity playing excellent fifteen man rugby. A fantastic cross kick by Steve Collins was collected at pace by winger Adam Cheshire who off loaded to full back Leon Simpson who went over under the posts. Piggy converted and we were now in a commanding 21-10 lead. However Huddersfield were then awarded a penalty try on 54 minutes after powerful work by their forwards bringing them right back into the game 21-17. They then went ahead with another converted try on 70 minutes leading 24-21 with ten minutes to go. Despite this the boys continued to dig deep playing expansive rugby. A great run from winger Jamie Harrison supported by fellow winger Adam Cheshire took the play deep into the Huddersfield 22. After battering away at the Huddersfield line we were rewarded with a fourth Tigers try for man of the match Steve Collins. He converted his own try and the final score was a hard fought 28-24 win and a bonus point. This was a very hard, uncompromising game which either side could have won but in the end it was the sheer effort and heart of this marvellous bunch of players that pulled us through. Well done 1-20 !!!.

Next Saturday another massive challenge on the long road up to Tynedale. Spirits are high and we are all looking forward to putting in a great performance.

Cheers, Hazz

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