Huddersfield YMCA 24
Pocklington’s defeat at home to Huddersfield YMCA looks as though the visitors won with something to spare, but it could so easily have gone the other way with Pocklington seeming odds on to take the result in the closing stages.
With ten minutes to go, Pocklington trailed only 12-8 and were battering at the Huddersfield line, with the visitors down to 14 men after a yellow card.
Pocklington missed a straightforward penalty but continued to pile on the pressure only for Huddersfield to then grab a 90-yard interception try.
Pocklington resumed the attack, still holding hopes of saving the game, but Huddersfield struck the killer blow late on with another interception score from the same player.
Huddersfield, assured of a promotion play-off after finishing second in the table, had a big and bullish approach that always looked threatening.
However, Yara-sponsored Pocklington were up for the challenge and for much of the game defence were on top, with scoring chances mainly coming from errors and loose balls.
Ben Rees disrupted a couple of early scrums to help his side weather the visitors’ initial thrust; and though Huddersfield spent much of the first quarter in home territory Pocklington made a couple of dangerous breakouts, Charlie Allen and Tim Nixon linking down the left, then Joe Holbrough surging up the middle.
A Pocklington penalty attempt drifted wide and it was end-to-end stuff as a Pock chip ahead bounced away from their chasers, then Huddersfield had a kick and race for the line at the other end, with Pocklington just getting a hand in first.
Huddersfield maintained the momentum and Josh Britland had to pull off a crucial tackle when the visitors got free on the right.
The deadlock was still unbroken as the first half ticked into stoppage time, before a missed penalty finally created a score.
Huddersfield were wide with a 40th minute shot at goal but when Pocklington tried to run out of defence they dropped the ball and the visitors snapped it up to cross.
Pocklington hit back immediately when they grabbed back the restart, Rees fed Allen and his chip to the left wing fell perfectly for Nixon to power to the line to make it 5-5 at the interval.
Pocklington had an early scare in the second period as Huddersfield went clear down the right from their own half but were penalised for taking a defender out off the ball.
But when the home pack were pushed off the ball, Huddersfield offloaded well to the left wing for a converted try under the posts.
Pocklington responded with some good back play of their own and Billy Hardy reduced the arrears with a penalty.That was the launch pad for Pocklington to move up a gear and a good pack drive ended with hooker Dave Birch being held a yard short.
Huddersfield played throughout the final quarter with 14 men after having two forwards consecutively sin binned for killing the ball in a desperate defensive effort to keep Pocklington out.
But Huddersfield’s guile in the pack, where they did not contest when Pocklington kicked penalties to the corner, and Pocklington’s lack of a cutting edge saw the home side unable to turn their pressure into points and set the scene for Huddersfield’s late brace of interceptions to win the day.