Harrogate Pythons 0 v Wensleydale 13
Pythons Cheesed off by Wensleydale
Harrogate Pythons welcomed Wensleydale for their first league game at their new home at Harrogate Railway FC. The social Committee had organised a Ladies Day to mark the occasion and over 200 people were expected to turn up. What could possibly go wrong? Half an hour before kick off a torrential thunderstorm hit the ground and kick off was delayed by 10 minutes as Coach Dan Bird and Captain Sandy Dunlop attempted to move the standing water from the pitch. The game finally kicked off and Dale were out of the blocks first securing a turnover. The writing was on the wall when Dale’s pack took the first Pythons scrum against the head. Dale worked up the pitch with a series of pick and drives to be met by ferocious Gate defence led by Jack Clarkson. Gate were finally penalised but the penalty was pulled wide. A great line from the Dale winger saw him tackled by Gareth Drane but Gate were again penalised and this time Dale made no mistake. 0-3 18 mins. It was now Gates turn to attack with Ivan Drane and Max Sharp combining well in midfield, but the attacking lineout was ruled not straight. A loose Dale kick was returned by Gareth Drane and the Dale receiver was crunched by Matt Leach and Ross Fallenstein. Unfortunately Fallenstein broke his ankle in two places in the collision and had to be taken to hospital. Another Gate infringement in midfield led to a Dale penalty which was expertly converted from the 10m line. 0-6 38 mins. A Dale kick through was touched down behind the Gate line but the referee decided the ball had been carried over and awarded and attacking 5m scrum. The Dale pack went for the pushover, the scrum disintegrated and the referee awarded a penalty try and a yellow card for prop Nathan Wake to leave the half time score Pythons 0 Wensleydale 13.
Gate looked to run the ball wide at the start of the second half but a loose pass was intercepted by the Dale winger but his kick through was charged down by Clarkson. With the sun coming out the game opened up and the Gate full back Andy Quirk made a break but was well tackled. Dale also tried to go wide but their winger was crunched into touch by Sharp. Then an Ivan Drane kick was collected by Sharp who put debutant Matt Halpin away but the flyer was caught in the heavy conditions. Dale then looked to be in the clear but their winger was stopped by a great cover tackle by Leach. With time running out the Dale pack ran down the clock successfully to leave the final score Pythons 0 Wensleydale 13.
This was a disappointing result for the Pythons who need to cut the penalty count and try to keep the ball in hand more. However no excuses as Wensleydale played the conditions better and deserved their win.
The Pirates had an excellent 15-5 win away at Otliensians with Ben Pye, Matt Audsley and Ben Kernoghan scoring the tries.
Next weekend the Pythons travel to Aireborough.
Ladies Day was a huge success with the bar crammed after the game. Thanks to Harrogate Railway and Emma and Dan Bird for organising.