Leeds Corinthians – 21
Huddersfield Laund Hill – 43
Laund Hill get back to back wins in convincing display.
On a grey and miserable day, Huddersfield made the short trip to Leeds Corinthians to face tough opposition in their first league meeting for a number of years.
Handing league debuts to new signings Joe Bender and Kean Hiscock, the Hill coaching team were looking for a big team performance following two intense training sessions during the week.
However, the game started poorly for the visitors as two consecutive knock-ons gifted back possession to Corinthians in dangerous positions. But eager to make-up for the errors, the men in red and black fought hard and were able to turn the ball back over on each occasion.
This allowed them to get an early foot-hold on the game and when Leeds were guilty of giving a penalty away just 5 metres away from their own line, captain Ed Black used the momentum of the game to decide to go for a scrum rather than taking the easy 3 points.
The big decision paid off as Laund Hill showed their dominance in the scrum, pushing their opponents back. Quick ball was won, but the back-line was unable to break-through the defence. However, when the forwards re-grouped, the ball found its way to prop Sam Burt to crash over for the first try of the day. Tom Egan added the conversion.
Just a few moments later, an early substitution had to be made as flanker Will Perfitt picked up an eye injury, allowing Hiscock to come from the bench for his first taste of the action.
And it wasn’t long before he delighted the Laund Hill players and supporters. With Laund Hill having a scrum just inside the Corinthians half, they pushed the home team back a massive 20 metres. The ball was worked down the back-line over a number of phases and Hiscock took the final pass to score a try in the corner with his first touch of the ball. This time, Egan was unable to add the extras.
As Leeds looked to get themselves back in the game, they were building a sustained period of possession in Laund Hill’s half, following an error in back-play. However, it was that man Hiscock again who produced a big hit on a big Corinthians’ forward, dislodging the ball in the process and allowing his team to kick the ball long down-field for a relieving exit.
Unfortunately for Laund Hill though, they could not stop their opponents from building more pressure and were forced to concede a penalty deep within their own half. Corinthians kicked to the corner and from the resulting line-out, took the ball to the blind-side to claim their first try of the day.
Laund Hill now had to dig deep to ensure that the Leeds team couldn’t get a firmer grip on the game and when Will Burns-Smith chased down and took the ball high from the restart, things looked to have settled down. As Corinthians gave away yet another penalty, once again a scrum was elected for. However, this time the referee adjudged that there was an infringement by Laund Hill in the set-piece and immediately awarded a free-kick back to the home team.
Able to clear their lines, Leeds managed to work their way back into the Laund Hill half, but following a turn-over, Egan put in a searching kick back over their heads to produce a fine 50-22, giving the line-out back to his forwards.
A text-book catch and drive forced their opponents back even further and hooker Ben Hill was the one to take the ball and dive over the line for another converted try.
Now in control of the game, Laund Hill were definitely playing the conditions better than their opponents and kept the ball tight. However, when the time was right, they moved the ball wide and centre Cain Crotty crashed through the first line of defence. With three of his own men in support against just one defender, he fed the ball to Burns-Smith to extend the scoring further.
As the half-time break approached, the game looked to be getting a little one-sided. But that had the possibility to change as Hiscock went from hero of the half to being shown a yellow card for a high tackle. This put his team under pressure and Corinthians looked to take advantage of the extra man.
With a scrum just 5 metres from the Laund Hill line, Leeds were favourites to get the final score before the break. But once again, Hill showed their dominance at the set-piece and even with only 7 men in the scrum pushed the home team off the ball, earning a penalty for their reward.
Going into the half-time break 26-7 ahead, the coaches were positive in their analysis but warned the team not to allow complacency to creep in. The team were in a very similar position against Dinnington last week and only just scraped the victory by three points.
As the second-half got underway, the heavens truly opened and the rest of the game was played in torrential rain.
As a result, the error count started to climb up with both teams coughing up possession. But when Laund Hill had a line-out close to the Leeds line, they took the safe option with a well-practised catch and drive which once again proved effective as Burt got over for his second try of the day. Egan once again added the extras to take the score to 33-7.
With the weather really now starting to have a negative influence on the game, when Laund Hill got another penalty within safe kicking range, Captain Black this time elected to take the shot at goal and Egan extended the lead by a further three points.
However, Corinthians never played like they were so far behind on the score-board and started to put together backs’ moves that threatened the Laund Hill defence on numerous occasions. It was only a matter of time before the pressure proved too much for Laund Hill and Leeds moved the ball down the back-line and scored possibly the try of the day in the corner.
The impetus had now swung back to the home team and now realising that the way back into the game was to utilise their fast-running three-quarters, they started to throw the ball freely – certainly admirable in the atrocious conditions.
In what looked like another certain score, the final pass was blocked by the Laund Hill full-back Luke Earnshaw who was found to have knocked the ball on deliberately and was shown the yellow card by the referee for his troubles.
However, Leeds were unable to turn the penalty into any points as the 14 man Laund Hill defence was in resolute form and wouldn’t let anything pass so close to their line.
With such impenetrable defence, it wasn’t long before Laund Hill worked their way downfield and it was Ben Hill who scored the fourth try of the day for the front-row union as he grabbed his second.
The crowd were eager to see one of the front-rowers claim a hat-trick but it wasn’t to be as a Corinthians’ break saw them scorch downfield and score a converted try with virtually the last play of the game.
A 43-21 bonus point win in such appalling conditions is a result that everyone can be proud of. Head Coach, James Tindall said “It was our discipline and structure that got us that victory, however, we need to replicate the brilliant training sessions that we had last week to be able to do the same against Dinnington in the cup next week.”
With the 2nd team beating Ossett 2s 22-7 at home, it was a very good weekend for the club with over 41 senior players taking to the field. The future’s definitely looking bright up at the Hill.
Earnshaw, Roberts, Egan, Crotty, Burns-Smith, Bull, Vernon; Burt, Hill, Barrett, Dalton, Black (c), Perfitt, Watson, Bender.
Replacements: Cotton, Hiscock, Holmes
Man of the Match: Miles Watson