Perfect season ends with a thrilling triumph
SCOTLAND coach and former Huddersfield player Vern Cotter looked on as they signed off as National Three North champions after winning all 26 matches this season.
It was a thrilling finale to Huddersfield’s perfect season as they defeated Sandal 37-35 at Lockwood Park.
Huddersfield had already won the title but Sandal showed that they had not come to make up the numbers and produced some decisive and hard-running rugby which put the home side on the back foot.
Sandal ran in three first half tries to Huddersfield’s one and led 23-10 at the interval.
Huddersfield, who had not conceded more than 16 points in any of their previous games, showed their class after the break.
They produced three wellworked tries but battling Sandal added another to keep the game tight.
In the end, it was the goalkicking of Huddersfield fly-half Chris Bell, who took his season’s tally to over 400 points, a club record, that made the difference.
Last year’s Yorkshire Under-20 captain landed four conversions and three penalties, the last of which, with full-time approaching, left Sandal needing a converted try to draw level.
With a man in the sin-bin on 80 minutes, it was 14-man Sandal who had the last word when scrum-half Ollie Fox scored a try in the corner only for the conversion attempt to go narrowly wide.
Medals were presented to the champions by Cotter and Huddersfeld captain Alex Battye received the Championship trophy from league secretary Terry Owen-Smith.
Huddersfield ended the season, having scored over 1,000 points and having conceded under 300.
It helped them bounce back to National Two North at the first time of asking.
Huddersfield vice-president Richard Sykes is now looking to the future and he said: “The ambition for the club is to establish ourselves in the higher tier.
“Clubs like Otley and Harrogateo have come through the divisions and have flourished in the past. That is what we have in mind for Huddersfield.”