Beverley 36-38 Huddersfield LH

Having had their winning run stopped last week at Goole it was important that Beverley’s 1st XV got back to winning ways against visitors Huddersfield Laund Hill RUFC to stay with the chasing pack especially given that Huddersfield were joint fifth with Beverley in the league. Unfortunately, after a credibly edgy game with plenty of points, the visitors took the spoils holding onto a 36-38 score-line at the end. A one-minute silence was impeccably observed in memory of Brian Meadley who passed away last week and was a founder member of Beverley RUFC, RIP Brian.

Huddersfield started the better of the two teams and early pressure eventually told on 13 minutes courtesy of a couple of missed tackles for the outside centre, Ollie Lightfoot who was to have an exceptional man-of-the-match performance, he took advantage of the poor tackling and had the pace to finish it himself under the posts, two minutes later we gifted the same player an intercept which he duly dispatched and after 15 minutes Beverley found themselves 0-14 down on the scoreboard. Beverley played their game in patches throughout the afternoon, and had a stint of pressure which eventually released Jacob Baggs down the left wing and then able to dot down under the posts the captain Rob Smith to convert easily, 7-14. Further opportunities for Beverley throughout the afternoon often ended in handling errors, but it was Aiden Calvert playing no.8 in the absence of injured Mike Melhuish who finally made the pressure count with a powerful drive over the line, unconverted 12-14.

Two minutes later, after the kick-off and losing possession at the breakdown, Ollie Lightfoot struck again easily breaking the line and this time choosing to offload to the winger to finish close to the posts easily converted. The half finished with a penalty conversion from captain Rob Smith to keep Beverley in touch 15-21, and the Beavers needing half-time to regroup and put right the errors. Unfortunately, the recovery plan didn’t quite work, with another slow start from Beverley in the second half seeing full-back Tom Egan scamper through the line easily to finish under the posts and then 10 minutes later Beverley’s pressure was turned over in an excellent kick and chase for the winger to score in the corner, both tries well converted and Beverley found themselves 15-35 down with 25 minutes to play.

Even then, knowing what flare Beverley’s backs have there was still an expectation that Beverley could bring this round from the supporters. It was Aiden Calvert once again that led by example after five minutes of trying to penetrate the line finally showed the power and determination in a great individual piece of play to score near to the posts and then seven minutes later, another great piece of individual play from Rob Smith saw him jink through the line and dot down quickly under the posts for two converted tries, and the game was back on, 29-35. A scrum penalty for a knee down in the front row helped the visitors stem the momentum that Beverley clearly now had, it was well dispatched from 45 yards to make it a two-point score game, 29-38. With five minutes to go pressure from the Beverley forwards on the away teams try line against the head forced an error which Scrum Half Dan Lee was able to capitalise on reaching out and touching down over the try line, converted by Smith, which then made it a very nervy three minutes for both teams. Although Beverley had the momentum and the pressure, they were beaten by the clock and a couple of handling errors which saw Huddersfield take the points as the whistle finally blew.

This was a game of fine margins and was incredibly exciting for the neutral or indeed the visiting supporters, but for the home supporters, it was frustrating, as we knew we only played excellent rugby in patches. It only took one tackle to be made or one line break to be finished to have taken victory. Beverley had no complaints though, the visitors deserved the win and are definitely one of the better teams in the league. Aiden Calvert was clearly man of the match for the home team who did take two league points away from the game and find themselves now sitting sixth in the league. Next week there is no fixture, and then the week after a visit to local rivals Hullensians is the next test.

Brian Gilbert