Huddersfield Laund Hill – 38
Ossett – 10
Laund Hill get their Counties 2 Yorkshire campaign underway with a winning start
On possibly the warmest Saturday of the summer, Huddersfield Laund Hill were determined to start the season off with a bang following a disappointing relegation in 2022/23.
However, the successful cup run at the end of the season allowed them to carry over a certain amount of confidence but there was still a slight sense of apprehension amongst some of the home supporters.
The longer than usual pre-season certainly looked like it paid off as the team looked the fitter of the two sides. This didn’t equate to any points in the first part of the game though as nervous errors and ill-discipline handed back possession to Ossett on a number of occasions.
And when a penalty was awarded to the visitors just 25 metres in front of the posts, they elected to take the kick to edge into a 3-0 lead with 10 minutes gone.
Laund Hill started to settle into the pace of the game and move the ball about and when Ossett gave away the first penalty of the game under the new tackle laws, captain Ed Black elected to take a kick at goal from 40 metres. Unfortunately, Tom Egan pushed the kick just wide.
By now though, Ossett were struggling to maintain possession and Laund Hill started to dominate. With 10 minutes left of the half, from a scrum close to the Ossett line, fly-half Luke Earnshaw put in a cross-field kick which was taken well by debutant Cain Crotty who dived over the line for his first score for the club. Egan added the extras.
And just a few moments later, a carbon-copy of the move saw Will Burns-Smith get onto the end of an Earnshaw kick to score in the corner. This time the conversion was unsuccessful.
With the game entering stoppage time in the first half, the home team would have been forgiven for playing the game out and heading into half-time with a 12-3 lead. However, the team looked determined and following a good exit from their own 22, they recycled the ball quickly and full-back Gareth Evans made a great break to score a fine solo try under the posts that was converted to take the half-time score to 19-3.
The second-half started similar to the first had ended as Hill looked to extend their lead further. And they didn’t have to wait too long as Harry Scholes took the ball at the back of a line-out close to the Ossett line. From the ruck, Egan dummied and made a half-break before being brought down just short of the line. However, Corby Nasaqa was on hand to quickly collect the ball and dive over for an unconverted score.
Ossett now looked like their heads were down and when the kick-off didn’t go 10 metres, young prop Ashley Lockwood collected the ball and raced down-field. As the defence covered across, he put in an unorthodox kick but thankfully centre Tom Bulloch was on hand to gather and run unchallenged behind the posts. However, the celebrations were cut short as the referee adjudged that the ball was not grounded correctly and the score was disallowed. Surely a moment that Bulloch will not be allowed to forget in a hurry!
However, just moments later, the forwards were able to save his blushes as they won a line-out against the throw. Nasaqa broke through the first line of defence and scored his second try of the game. Egan was able to add the extras.
Laund Hill weren’t finished there. With 20 minutes still left to play, Egan made a break from inside his own half. As the defence caught up, he put in a kick over the top which he was able to collect and score under the posts to make his conversion a formality.
Unfortunately, this proved to be the final score for the dominant home team. As the game reached its final stages and the team started to tire, old habits started to creep back in.
Once replacement James Cotton was sin-binned for an offence at the breakdown, Ossett started to spread the ball about and gaps started to appear in the usually strong defence. Less than two minutes had gone since they went down to 14 men and Ossett took advantage of some soft tackling to race straight through to score their first try of the game.
And in the final 10 minutes, they looked the most dangerous of the two teams and looked to have scored another in the final moments. However, their attacker was brought down illegally and a penalty was awarded but they were unable to convert this into points.
The positive that Laund Hill can take from this is that this was the only penalty they conceded during the whole game under the new tackle laws. Credit must be given to the coaches and all of the players for the work that they have done in pre-season training to make sure that the team are ready for the new variations.
All in all, a good result on the first day of the season but everyone knows that there is still a lot to work on in training this week before a big game at Baildon next week.
Evans, Vernon, Crotty, Bulloch, Burns-Smith, Earnshaw, Egan; Scholes, Hill, Lockwood, Dalton, Black (c), Perfitt, Drennan, Nasaqa.
Replacements: Burt, Cotton, Bull
Man of the Match: