Harrogate Pythons travelled to Leeds Modernians knowing that a bonus point win could send them to the top of the table. Mods kicked off playing down the slope and were starved of territory and possession as Gate ran the phases well and controlled possession at the line outs. A good break from Jed Carr led to a penalty but Ross Fallenstein pushed the effort wide. Jack Clarkson gathered the restart and was high tackled. This time Fallenstein kicked to the corner. Good lineout ball from Ian Binns saw Mods again penalised and again Fallenstein pushed the effort wide. Mods cleared deep, but the ball was well returned by Jon Pickard who linked well with Tom Everingham but Binns was held up in the tackle. Captain Dan Shortman was then penalised at the breakdown and this time Mods attempt at goal was pulled wide. A clever kick from Dorian ENNEQUIN put Mods full back under pressure, but he just managed to win the race for the touchdown. The restart was returned by a powerful burst by Matt Leach. Everingham picked up the loose ball at speed and stormed in under the posts to open the scoring. Andy Mackay added the conversion. 0-7 25 mins. Gate were penalised at the restart and Mods went for territory. From an attacking scrum Mods centre cut through a gap to score by the posts. 7-7 30 mins. Mods were penalised for a high tackle at the restart and Fallenstein made a big touch find. The throw at the lineout was judged not straight and Mods worked down the field. Another attacking scrum saw Mods go wide again. Their winger was tackled on the line but managed to flip the ball inside for a supporting player to score. 12-7 35 mins. There was just time for MacKay to miss another long range penalty to leave the half time score Mods 12 Pythons 7.
Gate made the perfect start to the second half as Fallenstein’s long restart was gathered by Max Sharp. Good bursts from Nathan Wake and Shortman move the breakdown to centre field and Sharp again made the vital break and flicked inside to the supporting Carr who scored under the posts. MacKay added the conversion. 12-14 43 mins. Mods then received a yellow card and Fallenstein gave Gate an attacking lineout. Good ball from Binns was knocked on in midfield but Gate took the Mods scrum against the head. Kris Starkey picked up at No8 and put Clarkson away on a run. Clarkson was tap tackled but the ball was recycled quickly and Wake rampaged through some weak Mods tackles to score by the posts. 12-19 50 mins. Ivan Drane then linked well with Matt Halpin who jinked his way into the clear but was called back for a foot in touch. Everingham was then penalised for hands in the ruck and Mods converted to bring the score back to 15-19. Good work from Grant Weatherston at the scrum led to panic ball for Mods who threw out a loose pass which was intercepted by Carr who raced away to score under the posts. Conversion added by MacKay. 15-26 60 mins. Mods now raised their game but a clearance kick from Fallenstein was retrieved by Drane and his pass to Halpin was just ruled forward by the referee. From an attacking scrum Mods stand-off sold a dummy which wrong-footed the Gate defence and he scampered over for a converted try. 22-26 73 mins. More Mods pressure was relieved by a massive clearance from Fallenstein which was fumbled into touch by Mods. The game ended in bizarre circumstances as the Mods hooker decided to have an altercation with Halpin behind the play. The referee awarded them both a yellow card and had seen enough so ended the game at Mods 22 Pythons 26.
This was a vital bonus point win for the Pythons, as with other results going their way the Pythons not sit proudly at the top of Yorkshire 3. Next week is another massive game as the Pythons entertain 3rd placed Thornensians at Station View