Huddersfield LH 25-27 Beverley
Back in October when Beverley’s opposition visited Beaver Park it was a tense affair and a high-scoring game led to the away team Huddersfield Laund Hill just securing the win in the dying seconds of the game, 36-38. In this return match on a wet dark afternoon in Huddersfield, the Beavers were able to return the favour, literally winning the game with the last kick of the match to win 25-27 in what proved to be a thrilling start to the 2023 campaign for both teams.
Huddersfield took first blood with an early penalty well converted by their No.9 nicknamed ‘Tiny’ who was a thorn in Beverley’s side all afternoon with his jinking runs from the breakdown and an excellent pair of kicking boots. Infringements and mistakes were to be a feature of this match as both teams had had 5 weeks since their last competitive games and almost gave the result to Huddersfield even though Beverley played the better rugby.
Captain Rob Smith had also brought his kicking boots and drew the Beavers level on 14 minutes with a penalty of his own. Beverley had lots of good possession for the rest of the half and on 30 mins took a penalty kick to take the lead, and then on 36 mins the first try after lots of pressure. The Huddersfield well-drilled defence finally gave in as a determined Aiden Calvert powered over, converted by Smith, half-time 6-10 to Beverley.
Both teams still battled hard and would need to until the very end to take the spoils. It wasn’t until the 55th minute that a brilliant move from a midfield penalty saw Smith kick long towards touch but short enough for winger Joe Rose to climb above the opposition to gather and set up good field position. The ball was moved quickly across field and this time Alex Calvert was able to finish on the right-hand side, well converted by the Captain, 6-17. Huddersfield were not accepting this and upped the tempo 5 minutes later spreading the ball and finding space on the right to claim their one try of the game, converted again, 13-17.
With 15 minutes left on the clock, penalty infringements took over the game given the pressure, tiredness and desperation to secure the ball from both teams. However Beverley conceded in more kickable spots on the field and Tiny wasn’t missing, all were converted, one for Smith and four for Tiny. With time up on the clock, Beverley found themselves down 25-20 having been in control and playing better rugby for most of the game.
A converted try was the only way they could steal back the points. Securing the ball from the restart was the first step, more pressure to get good field position inside the Huddersfield 22m line, forcing the offside penalty from a tired defence. Quick ball from Dan Lee, to Smith, to Mark ‘Trigger’ Hodgson whose legs had just enough power left in them to drive over and level the game 25-25. Time was up, the conversion would win the game, and Captain Smith did not miss a kick all afternoon, the result was Beverley’s 25-27, and the lads jumped for joy and onto Smith as the Referee blew his whistle.
A great rugby drama, but not necessarily the best rugby performance by either team. But an away win at strong opposition after a 5 week break is a great result for the Beavers who to a man put in a shift and almost took nothing from the game. The man of the match for Huddersfield was indeed Tiny (scoring 20 points) and although there were many contenders for Beverley it rightly went to one of the forwards (who dominated the set pieces) Jack ‘Gypsy’ Housman took the accolade.
Next week is a big double-header in a local derby against Hullensians for the 1st and 2nd teams at Beaver Park, 2.15 pm kick-off. Come along and support your local team in a match which is also in aid of the veterans’ charity Hull 4 Heroes.