Last Saturday the Harrogate Pythons travelled south to Sheffield Medicals RUFC eager to continue their good form and rejuvenate their promotion campaign. The Pythons made 7 changes to the squad including a welcomed introduction to stand off Tom Breakwell and a return to full back for speedster Matt Halpin.
Despite dominating early possession the Pythons couldn’t have asked for a worse start to the match when in the 4th minute their number 8, and forwards talisman, Hugh Tatlow was forced to leave the field of play with a HIA. This was sadly his last involvement in the fixture.
The Pythons regrouped and with a dominating pack and some well structure phase play they were soon presented with their first real attacking platform. A scrum from the left hand side of the saw scrum half Ned Rutty run a loop across the defensive line and skate through a hole between the medics 10 and 12 to register the first score of the game. Tom Breakwell added the extras to make the score 0-7.
With confidence high, the Pythons began to take control of the game and it wasn’t long until they found a second score with second rower Matt Leach seizing an opportunity around the breakdown to pick and go crashing over the line for 5 more points, converted again by Tom Breakwell. A third try soon followed when some excellent scrummiging manhandled the Medicals front 8 over the line for scrum half Rutty to place the ball down and add the extras. 0-19.
More injury concerns for the pythons saw club captain Dan Shortman forced to leave the field of play replaced by player-coach Dan Bird and it wasn’t long before he too found himself on the scoresheet. Running a hard line from Tom Breakwell he bundled his way through the defensive line for 5 points. HT 0-24.
The half time break favoured the Medics and they came out giving it their all, camping in the Pythons 22m but unable to convert this pressure into points. At 65 minutes the Pythons finally regained some control and launched there own attack. Some strong running from Ollie Wheatley and Max Sharp got the Pythons in the right areas. A scrum on the Medics 5m line saw the ball skew out of the side and the fast thinking Dorian Enniquin collected and popped it up to Dan Bird for his second try of the day. 0-29.
Jack Clarksons yellow card in the 65th minute proved costly as the Medics were able to exploit the extra man twice during the second rows 10 minute absence. There was however one last opportunity for the Pythons to register a score with winger Ollie Wheatley bullying his way through 4 defenders and creating a quick phase on the front foot before slick hands to put Halpin in out wide.
The Pythons are now 3 points off the top with new league leaders Castleford coming to Station View on 3rd November ko 2.15pm.