Halifax Vandals 7 v Harrogate Pythons 22
Pythons up to 4th following bonus point win on the road
Harrogate Pythons hit the road for the first time this season to play at Halifax Vandals, one of the clubs relegated from Yorkshire 2 last season. Playing down the slope, Gate made a confident start and made good ground when Ollie Wheatley ran back a Vandals clearance and passed to debutant Ned Rutty who was forced into touch. Following a solid scrum, Jed Carr made a break in the midfield and quick ball saw Max Sharp put in a delicate cross kick for Jack Clarkson to gather and score in the corner. 0-5 5 mins. The restart saw a high tackle on Sharp and following the fisticuffs, Gate were awarded the penalty which Liam Kernoghan despatched in the corner, but the ball was lost. A great tackle from Ian Binns regained possession for Gate and was carried on by Carr but with the line opening up the referee pinged Carr for offside. From another solid scrum and the Vandal’s 22, Gareth Drane went to the blindside and the ball was recycled and quickly spun to the other side of the pitch for Rutty to force himself over in the corner. Sharp added the conversion from the touchline. 0-12 12 mins. Another sweeping Gate move saw the ball pass though many hands until the rampaging Nathan Wake knocked on in the Vandals 22. Vandals quickly shipped the ball to their speedy winger who went on the outside before cutting inside full back Rutty to score under the posts. 7-12 20 mins. Gate responded with a sweeping move and a lovely break from Luke Price-Gerrard and offload saw Sharp caught just short of the line. Vandals gained possession and again put their winger away on the outside. In the act of scoring in the corner he was bungled into touch by a magnificent covering tackle from Clarkson. Vandals were now finding their game and were kept at bay by big tackles from Matt Leach and Rutty, and Sharp managed to stop Vandals big centre on the gain line. The speedy winger had another run which resulted in a high tackle from Carr and the winger ran into George Wilton which effectively ended the winger’s game. Steve Smith stole a Vandals line out and Wilton made a mighty break up the middle. Vandals were penalised and this time Gate elected to scrum. Drane put Wheatley away on the blindside and the ball was quickly transferred to the opposite wing for Ross Fallenstein to score in the corner and make the half time score Vandals 7 Pythons 17.
The second half saw Vandals camped on the Gate line for long periods. They looked certain to cross but were kept out by resolute defence. The referee awarded Wilton a yellow card for illegal entry into the ruck and Vandals chose to scrum but made no progress against the weakened Gate scrum. Drane tackled Vandals scrum half at the base of a scrum and Vandals were penalised for holding on. Kernoghan put a kick through and managed to regain possession but the ball popped out on the Vandals side and their big second row was well tackled by Binns. Sandy Dunlop was forced to leave the field after shoulder damage and was replaced by coach Dan Bird; Vandals then received a yellow card for a high tackle on Rutty. Wilton made good ground from the penalty and linked with Wheatley but Clarkson knocked on. Gate took the scrum against the head and lovely soft hands from Wilton put Fallenstein in at the corner. 7-22 75 mins. Vandals pressed again and this time Grant Weatherston was awarded a yellow card for illegal entry to the ruck. Gate broke from defence and big carries from Wilton and Wake led to a penalty in the Vandals 22. Fallenstein had seen enough and kicked the ball dead to leave the final score Vandals 7 Gate 22.
The was an excellent bonus point win for the Pythons on the road. However they will need to improve their lineout for the visit of Hemsworth to Station View next weekend.