POCKLINGTON RUFC lost 28-13 at Huddersfield YMCA but can take plenty of positives from a much-improved performance.

A spate of injuries in the previous two games forced Pock into making nine changes and take a side full of youngsters and debutants up the M62.

Nevertheless, they took the game to a more experienced Huddersfield outfit, and, although the homesters eventually won with something to spare thanks to their determined defence and making the most of their scoring chances, the visitors returned home with belief they can steer clear of relegation.

The result left Pock 10th in the North One East table, eight points off the drop zone with four games left. They have this weekend off and, while they will do well to get anything from their next game, at home to leaders Morpeth, two of their following matches are against teams below them in the table, with the other a potentially crucial derby against York.

Despite the changes, Pocklington made a storming start at Huddersfield.

The backs thrust down the right before the ball was switched left, where returning prop John-Paul Kelly carried strongly towards the line and flanker Will Sayer was in support to crash over and open the scoring in just the third minute.

The frenetic opening continued as Huddersfield almost went over from a kick and chase, but Pocklington soon resumed the offensive.

Still only 10 minutes in, indefatigable flanker Owen Jackson took play to within sight of the home line, feisty full-back Jed Jackson had a another go, then Pock went wide again to debutant wing Michael Gilbank, who still had plenty to do but plunged over at the flag to score with his first touch in first-team rugby.

Pocklington retained the initiative and their next attack saw centre Christian Pollock kick a penalty to make it 13-0 on the quarter-hour.

However, Huddersfield had a particularly dangerous midfield and they pulled back a penalty.

Then, after Pock lost front-row Jim Thornton with a rib problem, the hosts stepped through for a try to close the gap to three points.

Pock had opportunities, losing the ball in sight of, and over, the home line after Joe Holbrough had taken them up the middle. And, while Huddersfield had the last thrust at the end of the first period, the visitors held firm to go into the break still leading 13-10.

Sayer took play from his own line into the Huddersfield half on the restart, but the home backs came again and a try in the left corner put them ahead for the first time.

Pocklington were still doing plenty of attacking and, after Gilbank and Pollock had combined down the left, the Pock pack was held up over the home line.

Pocklington's failure to turn pressure into points started to haunt them as they lost the ball in the shadow of the home posts to allow Huddersfield to counter. And when a Pock kick was charged down, YMCA gratefully accepted the chance to score.

Now playing catch-up, Pock spent most of the final quarter battering at the home line.

The YMCA defence was determined, and at time desperate, but they somehow held out against waves of attack, despite losing two men to the sin-bin.

Pocklington had close-range scrums and penalties and tried to find a way through the middle and out wide. On one phase they made 12 attempts to crash over from a couple of yards.

But Huddersfield repulsed them time after time then landed the killer blow as they raced to the other end after Pock again lost the ball on the attack.