Harrogate Pythons 39 v Skipton 26
Pythons end season on a high
Harrogate Pythons were looking to finish the season in style with three consecutive wins against local rivals Skipton. With the ground back to perfect condition Skipton kicked off and immediately showed their intent by regaining possession and attacking the blind side. The Skipton full back put in a grubber kick which just rolled over the dead ball line. From the restart Jon Pickard made a strong run but Gate were penalised at the breakdown. Following a solid first scrum, Ross Fallenstein gained good ground with a raking touch find. Ian Binns disrupted the Skipton throw and a good line from Joe Bentham led to a penalty by the posts which Fallenstein converted. 3-0 5 mins. Skipton again regained possession at the restart, but this time Matt Halpin managed to rip the ball from a big Skipton forward and Fallenstein completed the exit. Liam Kernoghan kept the pressure on Skipton when he charged down a clearance kick, but Gate conceded a penalty to allow Skipton to clear their lines. With the Skipton forwards now starting to assert some authority, the Skipton backs had the confidence to try and run the ball wide, but Max Sharp anticipated a long pass and intercepted to go half the length of the pitch for the try which Fallenstein converted. 10-0 15 mins. Skipton responded well with the forwards going through the phases and eventually forced their way over. 10-5 18 mins. Skipton’s pack was now proving to be more than a handful, and a great blind side break by their big second row was well supported on the inside for a try under the posts 10-12 25 mins. However Gate turned over the restart and quick ball from Steve Kirkpatrick saw Sharp sail through a gap and score in the corner. 15-12 27 mins. Jack Orgles was brought on and made an immediate impression as Gate battered the Skipton line. Skipton were penalised and Gate elected to scrum. The ball went to Fallenstein on the blind side who was stopped just short and Dan Shortman followed up to pick up and dive over. 20-12 35 mins. With Gate now rampant, a lovely pick up from Matt Leach saw Kernoghan show and go through the gap to add to the Gate lead. 25-12 39 mins. There was just time for a long range penalty attempt by Fallenstein to come back off the posts to leave the half time score Pythons 25 Skipton 12.
Skipton attacked from the restart and Jack Orgles received a yellow card for nor retreating 10 meters. Skipton went for the catch and drive and were held up but the referee awarded another yellow card to Shortman. Down to 13 men the Pythons defended their line heroically with Skipton’s scrum making no impression on the depleted Gate scrum. Skipton eventually knocked on and from the scrum Fallenstein put in a long clearance kick which was misjudged by the Skipton full back and bounced into the hands of Sharp who sped away to complete his hat-trick, converted by Fallenstein. 32-12 52 mins. Undeterred Skipton pressed again and got back into the game with a try in the corner, well converted. 32-19 56 mins. More pressure led to an attacking Skipton scrum and when the front rows stood up the referee decided to award a penalty try and another yellow card, this time for Nathan Wake. 32-26 70 mins. From the restart Gate worked their way into Skipton territory, and good line out ball from Binns was spun wide for Halpin to score in the corner, well converted by Fallenstein. 39-26 73 mins. Skipton pressed again and gained a line out in the corner. The throw however was overthrown and Fallenstein brought the season to an end by hoofing the ball into touch to leave the full time score Pythons 39 Skipton 26.
This was a very competitive game between two well matched sides that will be looking forward to more battles next season in Yorkshire 3.